[aprssig] Where are my weather warnings??? -OR- Why your UINWS/UI-View32 isn't broke and the current APRS-IS wx server is working correctly.

Randy Love rlove31 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 24 21:22:41 CST 2009


ATTN: Steven WA8LMF -- please add this information to your UINWS/UIView
pages. tnx.

The following is an excerpt of an email between myself and the current
owner/maintainer of the APRS-IS weather server that replaced the older one
that put everything from the NWS into the APRS-IS system. Lines that begin
with > are from me; all non-marked lines are from the wxsvr

PLEASE, read this a few times and understand what isn't put put out by the
current wxsvr and why, and that a good part of what we aren't seeing is due
to a procedure policy of the NWS, not the wxsvr maintainer.

/begin quote/

> I'm sure you are aware of all the buzz on the APRSSIG and UIVIEW lists
> about how the wxsvr isn't working. The biggest gripe from people right
> now is that they aren't seeing the winter weather warnings. I'm sure
> that the primary reason is that you aren't parsing the event code from
> the NWS stream for those. A big part of that is that the NWS lumps a

No, the reason they are not being put on APRS-IS is because they are not
(according to the NWS) Immediate, Actual, Meteorological alerts.  The reason
the NWS does not classify them this way is because there is no immediate
identification in a winter weather warning, a flood warning, a watch, a
special weather statement, etc.  To qualify as an immediate, actual alert,
the NWS office determines that there is an immediate, identifiable threat to
life or property in a specific area.  This includes Severe Thunderstorm
Warnings, Tornado Warnings, and Flash Flood Warnings.

> good part of the winter stuff under the same code of WSW and you were
> wishing to limit the wxsvr to warning messages only. I am asking you to
> consider adding the WSW and BZW event codes as valid for passage by
> the wxsvr in order that winter storm warning and blizzard warnings are
> passed along to the APRS-IS.

APRS-IS #1 primary purpose is to support APRS on RF.  I used this statement
to determine the criteria for publishing weather alerts on APRS-IS.  As
stated above, it has nothing to do with type of warning.  The only criteria
used are if the local weather office determines the alert is Immediate and
Actual in nature (this is their terminology and ratings, not mine).  Generic
warnings such as winter weather, blizzard, etc. are wide-area events that
are best disseminated via reliable sources such as weather radio, commercial
radio, TV, and the Internet just as watches and special weather statements
are dispensed.  The reason for the Immediate and Actual criteria allowing
dissemination to APRS-IS is because:

It will not congest an RF channel and all NWS alerts gated to APRS-IS are
important so they should be looked at immediately as they may affect a
mobile or remote operator's safety.

I know Dale (editor note: Dale was the person that maintained the old wxsvr
) had a lot of heartburn over the excessive amount of information his
weather server was pumping into APRS-IS and therefore onto local APRS
channels.  I decided to take a "learn from past experience" approach and
focus on information that is vital to a field APRS operator that may not be
available otherwise due to active operations in the mobile at the time.

/end quote/

The translation of this is that only LOCAL weather service issued warnings (
FFW, TOR, SVR event codes ) will be ported to the APRS-IS due to the belief
that having *ALL* NWS watch/warn/advis messages was causing too much local
RF traffic *AND* that general area and broad coverage events such at
blizzards, winter storms, hurricanes, and floods are best received via
Internet or media sources, NOAA Weather radio included. Flash Flood,
Tornado, and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are all LOCALIZED events that
IMMEDIATELY affect safety of life and property. Many of the other warnings (
blizzard, winter storm, flood, hurricane, etc. ) are wide spread events that
often have many *HOURS* of lead time to prepare for or react to them. Flash
Flood, Tornado, and Severe Thunderstorm Warnings have lead times in the
*minutes*, and thus warrant *immediate* dissemination by all means,
including APRS.

Please note, there is nothing that precludes someone from creating these
types of objects locally for their area and submitting them via RF. If you
want to parse the NWS stream yourself for all information related to your
locality, go right ahead. Just be mindful of the traffic you add to your
local network in doing so.

I'm only the messenger, not the policy maker. Hope this sheds light on this
"issue" for lots of people, and rest assured that your UINWS is working
correctly *if* you have it set up according to the instructions located on
this website:


Merry Christmas.

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