Equipment helps county with forecast

Mary Mattingly

Ripley County Emergency Management Agency has a new “tool” so to speak in severe weather emergencies. Rich Corkhum, a retired US Navy chief, is working as a volunteer with the current EMA operations. In addition to county weather spotters, the experienced weather forecaster will update Patrick Rose, the county EMA director, and be the communications point-of-contact regarding the latest conditions from the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. The Wilmington office covers Ripley County. When requested by the EMA director during weather incidents, he will be either stationed at the Ripley County Emergency Operations Center or at the Batesville Fire Department, depending on the need. The Ripley County EOC is at the base of the sheriff’s office in Versailles. Through’s Rose’s recommendation, and within the confines of the approved county budget, the county purchased Gibson-Ridge Level 3 radar software.

Davis Weatherlink StationCorkhum said, “This radar software is one of the best available and preferred by many storm chase teams. It is a Windows viewer for live and archive data, and displays high resolution base radar products and dual polarization products, and is used within the NWS, itself.” 

It provides local storm reports and severe weather warnings. As Corkhum explained, it basically gives a better cross-section view of the weather since radar beams curve making the view more difficult to interpret.

In this new role, Corkhum said his goal is “to provide the most advance notice possible on the potential of threatening severe weather, and obtain NWS StormReady program for the county." This program started in 1999 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and helps arm communities with communication and safety skills.

Corkhum says the best protection in case severe weather occurs is preparation. “All folks should be prepared; know their risks and have a plan! This aids in reducing the chance of personal injury or worse." Before the storm, he advises, make time to keep updated on your environment. “Understand how the weather can affect your day-to-day lives,” the Batesville resident said. And remember, take the warning by the NWS seriously.

This Davis Weatherlink Station equipment was recently positioned on the roof of the sheriff’s office building for the EMA’s weather station. Data from the county is then available to NOAA, major universities, and the National Weather Service.





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