CANWARN is a volunteer organization of ham radio operators who report severe weather when they see it to Environment Canada. What they do is called ground-truthing. They confirm on the ground what satellites and radars see in the atmosphere. When Environment Canada's weather centres issue severe weather watches or warnings, they alert the CANWARN volunteers at the organization's regional stations in the affected areas. The volunteers contact other CANWARN members on the ham radio, tell them a watch or warning has been issued and ask them to report signs of approaching severe weather. These include lightning, hail, cumulonimbus clouds or as they are known in the trade CBs, and funnel clouds, which if they touch down are then called tornadoes.
CANWARN is organised in local networks. When CANWARN members spot severe weather, they send their reports to the CANWARN network controller who forwards them to Environment Canada's severe weather office in Toronto using either a special telephone line or the CANWARN web page. At the weather office, the severe weather meteorologist combines the data from the satellites and radar with the information from the ground to refine the forecast or prepare a severe weather watch or warning. In Ontario, CANWARN stations are equipped with computers, printers, and ham radio equipment, and are located in community centres such as airports, police stations and senior citizens complexes.
Expanding their community service
Ham or amateur radio operators have long played important roles in their communities, particularly during emergencies. These men and women run very high frequency, VHF, or ultra high frequency, UHF, radios from their homes, offices, cars or trucks and so are in a good position to help when normal lines of communication have been knocked out by a tornado, fire or explosion.
Their roles expanded after the Edmonton tornado on July 31, 1987. The tornado which had winds of more than 400 kilometres an hour ploughed through the Alberta city in the mid afternoon killing 27 people, injuring 253 others and causing more than $250 million in damage. The report on the Edmonton tornado and the weather warning system, known informally as the Hage report, said Environment Canada should solicit the help of amateur radio operators in the severe weather watch and warning program.
Within a week of the report's publication, Environment Canada had trained more than 120 ham radio operators in the Windsor area to detect severe weather. At first CANWARN operated primarily in southwestern Ontario. Today, there are CANWARN stations in towns and cities from Windsor through to eastern Ontario and Parry Sound on Georgian Bay. There are also CANWARN stations in Northwestern Ontario, including places like Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, Dryden, and Kenora. CANWARN volunteers cover most of the areas of Ontario that are likely to have severe weather. CANWARN is active (to varying degrees) in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Environment Canada trains ham radio operators to spot and report severe weather. They learn about the structure of storms, the types of clouds to watch for and what the department's severe weather watches and warnings mean. All CANWARN volunteers are encouraged to sign up for the refresher courses which the department offers each year. Any licenced ham radio operator may become a CANWARN volunteer. Men and women who are studying for their licences or are listeners of short wave radios may join CANWARN as associate volunteers.
For information about CANWARN please send an email to: Canwarn.OntarioRegion@ec.gc.ca
Note: In an effort to update the list of Canwarn operational frequencies all members are asked to review the list posted below and report any errors or omissions.
CANWARN VENUES DATES April 17 2016
Folks, a lot of new information since the first training notification including venues for the Waterloo training on May 4th (Adult Recreation Centre located at 185 King St S), the Ottawa training on May 10th (Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 115) and the Markham training on May 25th (Cornell Community Centre Library Program Room, 3201 Bur Oak Avenue).
Training dates have also been added in Mississauga, Oakville, Bruce Power in Tiverton and a series of locations across northwestern Ontario. Some locations are requesting that RSVPs be sent in a specific way (i.e. Markham, Oakville and Kenora...see below for details) and for all other locations RSVPs can be sent to...
The first training session in Blyth on April 20 was a big success with about 60 people coming out for the training. My thanks to those of you who have already expressed interest in attending a session and I look forward to hearing from others with an interest in coming out to a session close to you.
April 23 – Hamilton – 9 AM – Stoney Creek City Hall – 777 Highway 8, Stoney Creek
April 25 – Leamington – 7 PM - Leamington Kinsmen Recreation Complex – 249 Sherk St,
April 27 – Sarnia – 7 PM – Sarnia Yacht Club – 1120 Fort St, Point Edward
April 28 – London – 7 PM – Fanshawe College, 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd, Building T, Room
May 3 – Dufferin County – 7 PM – Dufferin County Courthouse, 55 Zina Street, Orangeville
May 3 – Kingston – 6:30 PM - Artillery Park Aquatic Centre, Multi-purpose room, 382 Bagot St
May 4 – Waterloo – 7 PM – Adult Recreation Centre, 185 King St. S, Waterloo
May 7 – Toronto – 9 AM – Environment and Climate Change Canada Headquarters, 4905
Dufferin St., Toronto
May 10 – Toronto – 7 PM – Environment and Climate Change Canada Headquarters, 4905
Dufferin St., Toronto
May 10 – Ottawa – 6:30 PM – Ottawa Archives, 100 Tallwood Drive, Room 115, Ottawa
May 14 – Rama/Orillia – 9 AM – Rama Fire Hall, 7454 Williams Road, Rama
May 17 – Tiverton – 7 PM – Bruce Power Visitor Centre, 177 Tie Road, Tiverton
May 18 – Niagara Region – 7 PM – Niagara Region Headquarters, Campbell East Room 102,
1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way (Formerly 2201 St. David’s Rd), Thorold
May 19 – Peterborough – 7 PM – Peterborough Lawn Bowling Club, 577 McDonnel St.,
May 24 – Mississauga – 9:30 AM – Noel Ryan Theatre, Central Library,
301 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W, Mississauga
May 25 – Markham – 7 PM – Cornell Community Centre Library Program Room, 3201 Bur Oak
Avenue, Markham – parking tickets will be validated at the venue – please
RSVP to https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/environment-canada-canwarn-storm-spotter-training-host-city-of-markham-tickets-24752398089
May 26– Oakville – 7 PM – Halton Region Headquarters, Glenorchy-Dakota Room, 1151
Bronte Road, Oakville, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
May 28 – Belleville – 9:30 AM – Belleville Public Library, 254 Pinnacle St., Belleville
May 30 – Sudbury/Azilda – 6:30 PM – Lionel E. Lalonde Centre, 239 Montee Principale, Azilda
May 31 – Sault Ste Marie – 6:30 PM - 99 Foster Drive, Russ Ramsay Room
June 1 – Manitouwadge – 6:30 PM – Municipal Council Chambers – Manitouwadge
June 13 – Thunder Bay – 7 PM – Lakehead Conservation Authority, 130 Conservation Rd,
June 14 – Atikokan – 6:30 PM – AEDC Training Room – 214 Main St West, Atikokan
June 15 – Kenora – 1 PM – Red Cross Office, 1008 Ottawa St., Keewatin...RSVP to
June 15 – Sioux Narrows – 7 PM – Sioux Narrows Community Hall – 5685 Highway 71,
June 16 – Dryden – 7 PM – Dryden Fire Services Training Room – 189 Colonization Ave S,
Warning Preparedness Meteorologist |
Météorologue de sensibilisation aux alertes
Ontario Region Client Services |
Service à la clientèle, Région de l'Ontario
Environment Canada | Environnement Canada
Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada
4905 Dufferin St | 4905 rue Dufferin
Toronto, ON M3H 5T4
Telephone | Téléphone 416-739-4466
Facsimile | Télécopieur 416-739-4603
Website | Site Web www.weather.gc.ca