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Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club uses AcuRite Tech to Track Local Weather Events

Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club uses AcuRite Tech to Track Local Weather Events
Posted in: Who Uses AcuRite
By Matthew Behnke, Skywarn Weather Spotter and Ham Radio Operator, Peoria, Illinois
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Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club uses AcuRite Tech to Track Local Weather Events

In late 2015, I received my amateur radio license and joined the world of communications. While on the local repeaters, I was listening to weather nets, which involved amateur radio operators giving reports of severe weather to a net control operator, who in turn relayed the information to the National Weather Service. Since I’m weather nerd, I had to ask how to participate.

Early 2016, I became an official Skywarn Spotter for the NWS and have been active ever since. I am also a member of the Amateur Radio Emergency Services, as well as a member of the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network. As of 2018, I am a member of the Peoria County Emergency Management Services.

HAM Radio Station

Though this is a new addition to my communications station, I’ve already been able to report the amount of rainfall and temperatures in my area to the NWS, which is about 45 miles south of me. Severe weather season is just starting in my area, and I hope to be able to report back on how well this station performs.

During severe weather, it is important to have gear that is reliable and accurate. Having the AcuRite Iris™ Weather Sensor and the high-definition weather station display at my communications station is a must. This weather station allows me to send accurate wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and rainfall amount to the NWS at a glance. This information is critical for alerting local authorities of possible weather events like flash floods or damage from high-speed winds.

AcuRite Weather Station

Using My AcuRite Products in the Field

Those living in central Illinois are familiar with how quickly the weather can change from day to day. When I’m active in the field, I will be either mobile, following storms and reporting on current conditions and rapid weather changes, or parked in a safe area watching for severe weather to arrive and actively monitoring the conditions through my data and local radar. Any information I gather is passed onto the NWS via two-way communications. While out following or watching for severe weather, I will be using the AcuRite Portable Anemometer, which is an excellent way to get accurate wind speeds, temperatures, and other such information to report. Having the AcuRite Portable Lightning Detector with me while operating the anemometer will allow me to see the precise distance between my location and the lightning strike.

Rainfall Map

June 20, 2021, Severe Weather Event Update:

After a long dry spell, we finally got a little rain. Around 10:30 p.m., we were activated by a severe thunderstorm warning; as the storm rolled in during the evening, I reported from home, which is typical for amateur storm spotters. In this case, I was able to give rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and lightning strikes from my home communications station. Having all this information at my disposal on a nice color display makes reporting these statistics to the NWS easy.

This storm caused a lot of damage in the area, and by using our rain gauge, we were able to help with the flash flood warning by reporting the amount of rainfall. The event lasted for a couple hours, and I recorded over 280 lightning strikes within 25 miles of my location. Having the AcuRite Iris weather station eliminates all the guesswork and gives me accurate readings that are necessary for weather spotters, or even the everyday weather enthusiast!

Storm season is still kicking in the Midwest and I’m excited to continue to see how well this weather station works. So far, it has been excellent.

July 26, 2021
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