Stray Signals

Radio Amateurs Track Major East Coast Winter Storm


WX1BOX, the Amateur Radio Station at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Taunton, Massachusetts joined numerous SKYWARN nets across New England in activating for an early-January nor’easter that brought significant coastal flooding, damaging winds — with hurricane-force wind gusts downing trees and power lines — and heavy snow accumulations to the region. The eastern coast of New England experienced high snowfall rates, whiteout conditions, and even “thunder snow.” A dramatic drop in barometric pressure generated a so-called “bomb cyclone.”

WX1BOX was active for 16.5 hours, supporting data gathering for the NWS. Local and state emergency managers, broadcast media, and other agencies also used these reports for situational awareness during the storm and to assess the need for any later recovery efforts.

“A widespread 8 to 18 inches of snow fell across Southern New England away from Cape Cod and the Islands. There were reports of thunderstorms with snowfall rates in the 2 to 3 inches per hour range,” said Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator and NWS Taunton SKYWARN liaison. “Wind gusts between 70 and 76 MPH were recorded over Cape Cod and the Islands, and wind gusts in the 40-70 MPH range were common across the rest of Southern New England.”

Macedo said the severe and widespread coastal flooding in some eastern Massachusetts locations was at the higher end of coastal flood events experienced in the last 10 years or so.

WX1BOX posted a report, with details on snowfall amounts, winds, coastal flooding, wind damage, and photos and videos from the storm on its Facebook page.

Cape Cod Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) was active at the Barnstable County Mutual Aid Coordination Center (MACC), convening ARES/SKYWARN nets and providing wind damage and coastal flood reports from their region. For the most part, Cape Cod and the

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