escapes me title), there was a story on the National Weather Service, and how
budget cuts, cost overruns from Unisys on a doppler radar contract, and
general mismanagement has caused the NWS to put lives needlessly in
danger through inaccurate weather reporting.
I bring it up in this forum as many of us are involved in assisting the
NWS through the Skywarn program as volunteer storm/tornado spotters
(this is a *BIG THING* in Omaha, which is right in Tornado Alley).
Some of the story was crassly sensationalistic (an interview with a
widow who claimed that the NWS was responsible for her husband's death).
Other parts of it were embarrasingly true, such as NWS radar equipment
dating back the the 50's (they showed racks of TUBES inside some of the
consoles and mentioned that the last reliable supplier of TUBES, the
Soviet Union ... :-), has gotten out of the business recently).
My perspective on the story is as follows:
1. Tornados and severe storms are chaotic phenomena that still cannot
be accurately predicted or even completely understood.
2. Rather than hem and haw and expect government to do everything,
attempt to augment the NWS with greater weather-safety awareness and
trained volunteer weather spotters (there was *NO* mention of Skywarn or
amateur radio in the entire segment).
3. The new radar systems will reach most areas of the country
(including Omaha) by 1994, which is fairly soon, although admittedly it
will do nothing about present-day storms.
4. Although "problems" with the new system were briefly mentioned,
they were not gone into in any specific detail.
I was generally not impressed with the quality of this news show,
and some of the exaggerations and misinformation expressed in the
news story may unnecessarily frighten the general public. Also, like
most news stories, virtually no mention of constructive solutions to help
offset potential shortfalls in NWS was to be found.
Rather than rave about "Why doesn't the ARRL do something about....",
can be made aware of this news program and its possible significance
to amateur radio.
73, Paul W. Schleck, KD3FU