Spotter of the Year

By: Michael Fitzsimmons


Over the years, the National Weather Service has recruited a number of outstanding individuals to provide up to the minute information during severe weather situations. Their information can be readily used to monitor an existing forecast, update a forecast, or even upgrade to a warning in severe situations. These individuals all have a commitment to community service and believe in the National Weather Service's mission to save lives and protect property. Gale Flagg is one of these special individuals.


Gale moved to Fort Kent in 1972 and has recorded daily weather conditions within the St. John Valley in a diary ever since. Some of the conditions that she records include sky condition, temperature, wind, precipitation and snowfall. Knowing that this information would be helpful, Gale jumped at the opportunity when called upon to be a weather spotter for the National Weather Service.


Gale has always had an interest in amateur radio, but it wasn't until she met Steven Boomhower (N1CHF) and Leland Roix (N1LON) while being a judge at Maibec Checkpoint during the Can-Am Dog Sled Races that she saw how amateur radio provided a public service. From this, her interest escalated and she plunged into studying for each license class as well as CW. Upon completion of her studies, Gale holds an Extra Class amateur radio license and is now able to pass traffic while being coordinator at the Maibec Checkpoint during dog sled races herself, instead of observing other amateur radio operators doing so.


In addition, Gale establishes a severe weather net across the St. John Valley for the National Weather Service when needed. She will receive reports from other amateurs and relay the information via 2-meter radio communication or by landline. Gale also reports weather conditions to Mona Rideout (VE9MR) who compiles weather data throughout New Brunswick and northern Maine for Environment Canada.


Gale is a strong supporter of SKYWARN Recognition Day and has participated in this event with the National Weather Service for the last three years. Gale's contributions to public service including the National Weather Service are immeasurable. Gale provides a dedication and commitment to public service that is second to none. As a result, Gale has received the well-deserved honor of spotter of the year.