document is a presentation that was given at our February club meeting
by Nicholas Young.
Young, SpinDoctorsWX.com forecaster, SKYWARY Severe Spotter
"Storm Spotting and Amateur Radio"
What is SKYWARN, and what is the job of a
SKYWARN is the
National Weather Service (NWS) program consisting of over 230,000
volunteer weather spotters. Storm spotters come from many walks
of life, including fire fighters, law
enforcement, and amateur radio operators. SKYWARN spotters
coordinate with local emergency
mamagement officials and send reports of weather based phenomena to the
In addition to serving as a community's first line of defense against
dangerous storms, spotters provide
important information to warning forecasters who make critical warning
decisions. SKYWARN storm
spotters play a critical role of giving the NWS vital ground truth data, which
helps the NWS perform the
primary mission, to save lives and
Who is Eligible for SKYWARN spotter
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and
access to communication, such as HAM
radio, to join the SKYWARN program. Volunteers include police and
fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS
workers, publick utility workers and other concerned private
citizens. Individuals affiliated with
hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a
responsibility for protecting others are also
encouraged to become a spotter.
How Can I Get Involved?
The NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning
who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN program in their local
area. Training is counducted
at the local offices and covers:
Classes are free and typically are about two hours long. To
find out when a SKYWARN class will be
- Basics of thunderstorm development
- Fundamentals of storm structure
- Identifying potential severe weather features
- Information to report
- How to report information
- Basic severe weather safety
conducted in your local area, contact your local Warning Coordination
I'm Trained... Now what?
After getting your training out of the way, a good place to start is
SKYWARN's homepage, www.nalsw.net.
It is filled with information on what to report,
how to go about it, and general SKYWARN information.