2022 Weather Year in Review

In 2022, the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team gathered a record 518 reports.

The year 2022 started out with three SKYWARN activations on January 7th, 17th – 18th, and 29th – 30th, the most memorable for a nor’easter that tracked near the Gulf of Maine on January 29th. The nor’easter accounted for 13.2 inches of the 13.6 inches total snowfall for the month in Portland, and produced 86 SKYWARN reports. January featured several temperature swings through the first three weeks of the month, followed by persistent cold through the end of the month. On the whole, the average temperature for January was well below normal and it was the coldest January since 2009.

Observed snowfall totals from the January 29-30 nor’easter

February was quieter, with only two SKYWARN activations on the 4th and 25th – 26th, as the upper-level jet stream took on a traditional La Nina pattern, with a ridge in the Northeast Pacific and another over the Southeastern U.S. The persistent ridge over the Southeast dominated weather in the Portland area, bringing several warm spells during the month. The warmest period came during the last week of the month, when the high temperature reached 66 degrees on February 23rd. A sharp cold front crossed the area causing temperatures to drop 25 degrees by midnight and resulted in a record temperature range of 41 degrees for the date. The most significant event occurred on February 3-4 when waves of low pressure tracked along a cold front that slowly sank south through New England and then stalled near Portland. This setup a period of rain that changed over to sleet, with the Portland area receiving 2 to 3 inches of sleet before precipitation ended as light snow. Smaller systems in the second half of the month were primarily rain producers, until a storm finally tracked across southern New England with enough cold air to bring 5.8” of snow on the 25th.

Frequent light precipitation events with measurable precipitation occurred during March, with only two SKYWARN activations on the 12th and 30th. While snowfall did eclipse the dismal 0.1” recorded in March of 2021, total snowfall finished well below normal with only 3 inches and no days of an inch or greater of snow.

Only a single SKYWARN activation occurred in April for a wind and rain event on the 19th. A 28 mph wind gust was recorded in New Harbor, and we received multiple reports of wind damage in the Waldoboro area. A total of 5.0 inches of precipitation fell in Portland, which was 0.59 inches above normal.

The month of May was warm and dry in the Portland area. The primary feature that dominated the weather pattern was a ridge of high pressure that started to develop during the second week of the month and remained centered over Northern New England through the end of the month. Only one SKYWARN activation occurred, on May 16 for damaging thunderstorms that effected mostly Southwestern New Hampshire and the Connecticut River Valley. The storm produced 21 reports, which were mostly for wind damage. A total of 1.12 inches of precipitation fell in the Portland area, which was 2.55 inches below normal.

The month of June was cooler and drier than normal. An anomalous trough of low pressure that started to develop during the second week of the month remained through the third week of the month. Two SKYWARN activations occurred for thunderstorms, with quarter size hail reported in Conway, NH on the 4th and heavy rain and ponding in the roadway reported in Scarborough on the 17th. A total of 2.62 inches of precipitation fell in the Portland area, which was 1.53 inches below normal. The heaviest precipitation fell on June 17th, when 0.76” was recorded.

July was warmer and much drier than normal. It was also the third month in a row with below normal precipitation, leading to an expansion of moderate drought conditions early in the month. Despite the lack of precipitation, there were five SKYWARN activations during the month for thunderstorms, on July 12, 14, 21, 25, and 28. We received 26 reports on the 21st, mostly for wind damage, from Antrim, Stoddard, Hancock, Sullivan, Harrisville, and Moultonborough, NH, and the same cell produced a microbust on Frye Island and Raymond, ME. On the 25th, we received reports of trees and wires down in Swanzey, and Exeter, NH. A total of 1.28 inches of precipitation fell in July, which was 2.15 inches below normal. The heaviest precipitation fell on July 5th into the 6th, when 0.38” was recorded.

Wind damage from the July 25th storm, in Sebago, ME

August was much wetter and warmer than normal. By the end of the first week of the month, a broad ridge, that started to develop in the mid-levels of atmosphere, shifted east, with the center of the ridge settling over New England. The ridge persisted into the second week of August and was responsible for the hottest stretch of weather during the summer months. From August 5 to 7, the temperature did not drop below 70 degrees for three days in a row, along with high temperatures climbing above 90 degrees for three days in a row between the 7th and 9th. A cold front then crossed into New England the night of August 9th, bringing much cooler air. It was during this period that a series of upper troughs pushed across Southeastern Canada with frontal systems bringing bouts of heavy rain on the 22nd, 26th, and 31st. SKYWARN activations occurred on the 8th and 26th. We received multiple reports on the 26th for wind damage in Marlborough and Newport, NH, and heavy rain, wind, and hail across Southern Maine.

September was cooler and wetter than normal and two SKYWARN activations occurred on the 13th and 23rd. A cold front crossed New England to start the month followed by high pressure settling over the area through the 4th. This allowed for warm sunny days and cool crisp nights. Another cold front dropped south into the area the night of the 4th and stalled over New England through the 6th. Waves of low pressure tracked along the frontal boundary bringing a soaking rain on the 5th – 6th. Unseasonably warm days followed, until a cold front crossed on the 15th, causing temps to average below normal through the end of the month.

October was warmer and much wetter than normal, with only one SKYWARN activation occurring during the month, as a severe thunderstorm produced 13 reports of mostly wind damage in Dixfield, Scarborough, Saco, and Buckfield, ME, and street flooding in Scarborough. The middle of the month was particularly active with one system bringing 3.27 inches of rain the night of the 13th through the 14th, and another system bringing 2.76 inches of rain on the 17th – 18th. The storm system that crossed the morning of the 14th brought strong south to southeast winds that caused tree damage in York County with the peak wind measured at 45 mph in Portland. The first freeze of the fall occurred on October 9th.

November was exceptionally warm in the Portland area through the first half of the month, followed by temperatures averaging below normal through the second half. During the first 12 days, the average temperature was 54.1 degrees and exceeded the 70-degree mark 3 times. A new all time record high was set on the 5th when the high temperature reached 75 degrees! The jet stream configuration, which consisted of a ridge of high pressure centered over New England, limited precipitation early in the month, although the remnants of Tropical System Nicole moved up the eastern seaboard, bringing a bout of heavy rain on the 11th. The ridge broke down during the middle of the month, giving way to a trough of low pressure. This pattern allowed for a couple of frontal systems to cross New England, and temperatures to trend below normal. SKYWARN activations occurred on the 16th, bringing the first reports of freezing precipitation of the season, followed by another activation on the 30th, for a strong cold front that generated reports of snow, heavy rain, and wind damage. The peak gust at Portland topped out at 47 mph. A total of 5.24 inches of precipitation fell in November, which was 0.99 inches above normal. The heaviest precipitation in fell on the 15th – 16th when 1.32 inches of rain was recorded.

Four SKYWARN activations took place in December, on the 1st, 12th, 15th – 17th, and 23rd. A cold front crossed the region to start the month followed by a brief high pressure. A period of relatively active weather ensued through the winter solstice as several mid latitude cyclones of Pacific origin tracked eastward and brought bouts of precipitation to New England. Towards the middle of the month, high latitude blocking became pronounced over Alaska and Eastern Canada. The blocking over Alaska helped funnel arctic air into the Continental U.S. and the blocking over Eastern Canada helped suppress low pressure systems from tracking west of New England. This pattern ultimately led to a coastal low pressure system to develop near the Mid Atlantic on the 15th, which tracked into the Gulf of Maine on the 17th. This system brought significant moisture into New England, and while the Portland area did see prolonged snowfall, temperatures were near or slightly above freezing, limiting the ability for the snow to accumulate. The system brought the heaviest precipitation of the month with rain and melted snow amounting to 1.45 inches, with 4.1 inches of heavy wet snow. Further inland, this system brought significant heavy wet snow leading to power outages across the interior with the mountains seeing upwards of two feet.

After a few days of dry weather, another significant system took shape over the Central Plains on the 22nd and tracked over the Great Lakes on the 23rd and into Quebec on the 24th. The system brought significant southerly to southeasterly winds into Maine and New Hampshire with the peak gust in Portland reaching 65 mph. These very strong onshore winds combined with a period of high astronomical tides led to the 4th highest tide on record at Portland at 13.72 feet, on the 23rd, which resulted in significant coastal flooding. Much cooler weather followed over the holiday weekend, with temperatures climbing well above normal to close out the month.

Satellite image of Winter Storm “Elliott”

A total of 3.98 inches of precipitation fell, which was 0.52 inches below normal. A total of 4.7 inches of snow fell, which was 9.9 inches below normal. The majority of this snow fell on the 16th – 17th when 4.2 inches of heavy wet snow was measured.

December was a busy month for SKYWARN, as we collected 144 reports, 61 of which were for the December 23rd storm. Many of these were for wind damage and flooding.

Coastal flooding in York, ME during the December 23rd storm

During the year, the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team helped gather a record 518 SKYWARN reports, which is 75 more than our previous record of 443, set in 2020. Thanks to all of our Net Control operators, SKYWARN Spotters, and volunteers, who helped us throughout the year. Keep up the good work!

The NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team is a group of volunteers who support the National Weather Service Forecast Office, in Gray, ME. Click here to learn more about the team and how you can help.

Works cited:

NWS Gray Climate Information Library – Portland, ME: https://www.weather.gov/gyx/climate_f6.html

Portland Maine Daily Records: https://www.weather.gov/media/gyx/climo/PortlandRecords.pdf

Climatological Report (Monthly): https://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=GYX&product=CLM&issuedby=PWM

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day Review

On Saturday, December 4th, members of the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team activated WX1GYX for SKYWARN Recognition Day, an annual event that celebrates the contributions that SKYWARN volunteers across the country make to their communities.

Radio operations began at 0000 UTC on December 4th and continued for 24 hours, with either a weather report or SRD number being exchanged. SRD isn’t a contest, but a fun on-air activity with many different participants, including SKYWARN Net Control operators, SKYWARN spotters, regular hams, ARES volunteers, and even DX stations, taking part.

SRD isn’t just for radio operators, either! SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters, many of whom are not hams. Over 4,500 spotters took part in the SRD National Spotter Check-In, which mapped their locations across the country.

Similar to last year, the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team could not activate from the National Weather Service Forecast Office, due to COVID-19 restrictions, so they created a shared Google Sheet and encouraged radio volunteers to choose a time and band slot to operate as WX1GYX, either from a portable location, or their own homes. The effort was successful in giving NWS Gray an on-air presence during the event.

Special thanks to: Eric N1RXR (D-STAR, Echolink, and FM), Tom N1KTA (Echolink), Tim KB1HNZ (HF SSB, HF Digital, and DMR), Stefania K1GJY (HF SSB), Susan WB2UQP (HF SSB), and Jason W1SFS (HF SSB)., for contributing logs! WX1GYX logged 45 different states, 7 different NWS Offices, and 59 SKYWARN Spotters, for a total of 195 QSOs during the event. Great job, everyone!

Click here to view the SRD Check-in map and learn more about SKYWARN Recognition Day.

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day is December 4th!

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day is December 4, from 0000Z – 2359Z

For 22 years, SKYWARN™ Recognition Day, developed jointly by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League, celebrates the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN™ radio operators make to the National Weather Service.

Similar to last year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, ham operators will not have access to the NWS Gray facility, but we encourage you to take turns activating the WX1GYX call sign, either from your home stations, portable, or mobile, during the event.

If you’d like to use the WX1GYX call sign during SRD, please click here to sign up for a time/band slot. We hope to have at least one operator from each of the counties in the NWS Gray Weather Forecast area, so spread the word!

Participants are asked to log contacts in an electronic logging program, such as N1MM, and submit to kb1hnz@yahoo.com in an ADIF format.

During the periods that you’re not using the WX1GYX call sign, operators may also use their personal call signs to exchange their name, SRD number (which can be obtained here) and current weather conditions with other participating stations.

The event website provides complete operating guidelines, including the suggested exchange. SRD is a fun on-air activity that feels very much like a contest, but its informal. There’s no rules or band limitations. You can even use repeaters!


Tim Watson

WSSM-ECT Training Net 04/22/21 Net Report

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the WSSM-ECT Training Net for Thursday, April 22nd! We had 12 check-ins on the repeater and 2 on DMR. The net started on time, at 7:00PM. Tim KB1HNZ served as moderator.

One announcement was made by Dave KB1FGF, who mentioned having a 4-way coax switch available for free to anyone who needed one, and he was also looking to sell his Connect Systems CS801 DMR radio.

The topic for the evening was SKYWARN, which focused on some of the things that a new Net Control station should be aware of, including where to find information about approaching hazardous weather, when and how to activate a net, on which frequency to operate, what to ask for, and how to log reports.

Tim KB1HNZ talked about the new SKYWARN Official Supporter program that was rolled out on Tuesday, which is designed to encourage more participation in SKYWARN from the ham radio club and EmComm group level.

Eric N1RXR talked about some of his experiences operating as Net Control for SKYWARN, and stressed the importance of good listening and asking for a specific location when taking reports.

Following the net on the repeater, we took call-ups for weather reports on the DMR SKYWARN Talk Group (759) to help familiarize participants with the SKYWARN talk group.

Net Participants:

  • KB1FGF Dave, Scarborough, ME (FM)
  • KB1IIR Luke, Madison, NH (FM)
  • K5RN Frank, Planto, TX (Echolink)
  • KC1OLX Tom, Gorham, ME (FM)
  • KC1JMH Brad, Waterboro, ME (FM & DMR)
  • KC1OER Norris, Portland, ME (FM)
  • N1RXR Eric, New Gloucester, ME (FM)
  • KC1NZD Rick, Peaks Island, ME (FM)
  • KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME (FM)
  • WX1D B.J., Kennebunk, ME (FM & DMR)
  • KU1U, Corey, Sabattus, ME (Echolink)
  • W1QUI, George, Auburn, ME (FM)

This was a fun training. SKYWARN is an important topic that we’ll be revisiting again in the future, and we’ll also work on getting more involvement on the DMR side of things, by helping to update code plugs and programming radios if needed.




WSSM-ECT Net – Tonight at 7PM!

Please join us this evening, at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly ECT Training!

We’ll first meet on the repeater, where we’ll exchange traffic and share announcements, and introduce our topic for the evening, which will be SKYWARN. We’ll talk about the SKYWARN activation process, how a typical net occurs, and answer any questions that come up.

After that, we’ll move over the the DMR SKYWARN Talk Group (759), where we’ll take do a call up for weather reports (which may be real or simulated).

Catch you on the air!



Introducing the NWS Gray SKYWARN Official Supporter Program

During our presentation for the Maine Virtual Hamfest last month, we mentioned the creation of a new program to encourage greater participation in SKYWARN. I’d like to personally invite your organization to consider becoming an Official Supporter of the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team.

Due to the enormous size of the Weather Forecast Area that NWS Gray is responsible for, which includes most of western and southern Maine and the entire state of New Hampshire, the task of covering it for SKYWARN is challenging. The only way we can effectively cover all of it is to lean on the support of local nets spread out across the entire area. That’s where the Official Supporter program comes in.

Many hams are naturally weather enthusiasts and you may already know a few who are, but an interest in weather isn’t necessary to take part. When hams put their radio skills to use by volunteering as a SKYWARN radio operator, they practice one of the most important ways they can apply those communications skills. SKYWARN traffic occurs real time, during ongoing weather events, and forecasters use the information exchanged to create, update, and validate warnings, which can save lives.

Being part of the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team is a meaningful way to experience the hobby while making a positive impact on our community.

As an Official Supporter, we recognize that your organization will embrace SKYWARN as a way to enhance the amateur radio experience, use it as a real-time training and preparedness tool to sharpen Emergency Communications skills, and to provide a vital service.

Thank you,

Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

Here’s how you can help:

Criteria to earn Official Supporter status:

  • Commit at least one (1) liaison to SKYWARN, and one (1) local Net Control operator (this can be the same person or different people within your organization.
  • Activate local nets as needed or as requested by NWS throughout the year.
  • Participate in regional drills and exercises throughout the year.
  • Maintain a list of trained SKYWARN Spotter ham radio operators within your organization.
  • Assist in hosting SKYWARN Spotter training in your area.
  • Actively support and promote the SKYWARN program within your organization and community.

What you’ll receive:

  • Guidance from NWS Gray SKYWARN leadership and support materials.
  • Access to the SKYWARN net reporting form.
  • Certificates and recognition for your team’s efforts throughout the year.
  • Official SKYWARN swag.
  • A special logo representing your team’s status as an Official NWS Gray SKYWARN Supporter.
  • Your organization will be listed on the NWS Gray SKYWARN website and in future press releases as an Official Supporter.

Click here for more information about the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team.

NWS Gray Announces Virtual SKYWARN Weather Spotter Training

Help your National Weather Service by becoming a SKYWARN storm spotter! Storm spotters report large hail, damaging wind, tornadoes and flooding. Spotter training will teach you how to identify and report severe weather as well as how to maintain awareness, which will help keep you and your loved ones safe, and may even save the lives of others!

Where: Your Home

When: Monday, May 3rd, at 6:00 PM, Thursday, May 13th, at 6:00 PM, & Tuesday, May 18th, at 6:00 PM.

Cost: FREE to all those interested in weather!

Please visit: https://www.weather.gov/gyx/skywarn to register. You can also contact Donald Dumont: donald.dumont@noaa.gov for additional information on this training.

2020 SKYWARN Recognition Day Review

As was the case with many of this year’s activities, the pandemic decided to throw a wrench into SKYWARN™ Recognition Day, a 20-plus year old tradition that was jointly developed by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League to celebrate the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN™ radio operators make to the National Weather Service.

Since 2014, WSSM volunteers have visited the National Weather Service Forecast Office, in Gray, Maine, to spend long hours operating the WX1GYX station during the round the clock event.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year, we had no access to the NWS Gray facility, so in order to get WX1GYX on the air, we needed to get creative.

Back in the summer, WSSM celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a special event call sign, W1V. To encourage club members to operate with the call sign from their own homes, or portable, a we created a Google Sheet as a signup form. The sheet was divided, in that case into the days that the call sign was active and featured 2-hour operating blocks in each bands and mode. One simply entered their call sign in the band and time slot of their choice and got on the air. We decided to use a similar method to encourage SKYWARN volunteers, who normally participate during SRD, to get on the air.

It worked out very well! For SRD this year, WX1GYX made a total of 198 QSOs, working 42 different states, contacting 7 other NWS stations and 35 SRD volunteers during the 24 hour period. The call sign was active on the 80, 40, 15, 12, and 2 meter bands, using SSB, FM, D-STAR, DMR, FT8, and Echolink for modes.

This isn’t bad considering by late Saturday morning, a real SKYWARN Activation took precedence, as a Nor’easter began to impact the area. The storm brought heavy snow and wind, and caused widespread damage and power outages across the forecast area, that even effected some of our SRD participants. On Saturday night alone, we gathered 35 reports of damage, and dozens more the next day.

Here’s a picture of Eric N1RXR’s operating conditions Saturday evening!

2020 SRD participants included: Eric N1RXR, Jerry K1WTX, Mark KG1Q, Tim KB1HNZ, and Stefania K1GJY.

During periods that they weren’t using the WX1GYX call sign, many of these same participants used their personal call signs and exchanged their names, SRD numbers, and current weather conditions with other participating stations.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s SRD a success!

SKYWARN Self-Activation Coordination Message 08/04/20


Isaias is expected to track quickly through western New England early tonight. The majority of storm impacts will be felt in roughly a 6 hour period this evening.

Southerly winds are expected to increase in the early evening and gust to 40 to 60 mph at times as Isaias tracks near the Connecticut River Valley. This may be capable of downing some trees and power lines. In addition, there will be a threat for isolated tornadoes on the eastern side of Isaias. Winds will begin to diminish early Wednesday morning.

Rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected, mainly in the Connecticut River Valley and White Mountains. This may lead to flash flooding in complex terrain or poor drainage areas, in addition to minor river flooding. Parts of the forecast area near the coast may see less than 1 inch of rainfall.

In general, the coastal flooding threat is low based on the forecast forward speed of Isaias, with any inundation likely less than a foot. Some splashover is expected tonight however. Rough surf and an increased risk for dangerous rip currents will be possible both ahead of Isaias this afternoon and behind it on Wednesday.


– None

– A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Central Somerset,
Interior Waldo, Kennebec, and Southern Somerset
– A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Androscoggin,
Belknap, Central Interior Cumberland, Cheshire, Coastal
Cumberland, Coastal Rockingham, Coastal Waldo, Coastal York,
Eastern Hillsborough, Interior Cumberland Highlands, Interior
Rockingham, Interior York, Knox, Lincoln, Merrimack, Northern
Carroll, Northern Coos, Northern Franklin, Northern Grafton,
Northern Oxford, Sagadahoc, Southern Carroll, Southern Coos,
Southern Franklin, Southern Grafton, Southern Oxford,
Strafford, Sullivan, and Western And Central Hillsborough
– A Tornado Watch is in effect for Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, and Sullivan

– About 440 miles southwest of Portland ME or about 390 miles
southwest of Portsmouth NH
– 39.1N 76.1W
– Storm Intensity 70 mph
– Movement North-northeast or 20 degrees at 35 mph

SKYWARN Self-Activation will monitor Isaias for local impacts Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning. The rough time frame of worst conditions will be late Tuesday afternoon, into the early overnight hours of Wednesday, but some deteriorating conditions could start earlier, with lingering conditions lasting till around daybreak Wednesday morning depending on track, speed and intensity.

Weather spotters are encouraged to report significant weather conditions according to Standard Operating Procedures. Please activate local nets as necessary. Nets are expected to commence on the KQ1L link system and 147.090 repeater in Maine, beginning around 4:00 PM Tuesday afternoon, or as the storm dictates.

Reports may be emailed at any time to: gyx.skywarn@noaa.gov

Be alert and stay safe.


Tim Watson