On May 20th the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) requested SKYWARN trained Amateur Radio Operators to engage in weather spotting for the Colorado ARES Region 1, which includes mainly the North Central area of Colorado including the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson. This was the main area of severe weather expected by the NWS. SKYWARN spotters are just that, spotters and reporters, and not chasers. They provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, and the main responsibility of a SKYWARN spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In an average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States and these events threaten lives and property. Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN trained spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data. This information has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods which have saved countless lives.
Region 1District 1 (Adams County, CO) primarily focuses on Adams County, however, if need be they can spot in the surrounding areas as well. When a weather net is setup, spotters report their observations to the net controller via amateur radio on a local county frequency, who then passes significant observations to the NWS via amateur radio on regional frequency to assist in their forecasting and, when necessary, the issue of appropriate alerts and warnings.
On Tuesday, May 20th, ARES Region 1 District 1 setup a weather net at 2:45 PM local time as did many other districts in the region. This was the beginning of a three day weather event. Heavy thunderstorms ran through the area. Our net had six weather spotters check in and give reports on conditions in their area. No severe weather was observed by R1D1 spotters on that day and the net closed at 5:08 PM.
On Wednesday, May 21st, more severe weather was expected so the ARES R1D1 Weather Net setup again at 12:45 PM with ten spotters checking into the net to give observations. Many rotating wall clouds and hail was reported. A few tornados were spotted and all was reported back to the NWS Boulder. There was lots of weather activity that day and the net was closed at 5:34 PM.
On Thursday, May 22nd , more severe weather was expected so the ARES R1D1 Weather Net was again setup at 1:30 PM, with nine spotters checking in to give observations. Areas of flooding and scud clouds appearing to be funnels were observed. Even though this was more of a calm day, there was much activity with one spotter reporting an accident due to water over the roadway and hydroplaning being the cause. The net closed at 6:05 PM.
Wall Could in NE Colorado on May 20th, 2014
Wall could near Bennett, CO on May 21st, 2014