SKYWARNTM Spotter Program
SKYWARN is the National Weather Service (NWS) program comprised of trained volunteer weather spotters. Storm spotters come from many walks of life, including fire fighters, law enforcement, amateur radio operators, and the general public. SKYWARN spotters coordinate with local emergency management officials and send reports of weather based phenomena to the NWS. Skywarn spotter training is FREE, open to any member of the public, and sometimes based on location spacing, may require registration.
Storm spotters not only serve the community, but they 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 our primary mission, to save lives and property.
The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Wilmington maintains communications with area emergency managers, law enforcement and spotters who report via amateur radio during severe or adverse weather events.
NWS Wilmington Area SKYWARNTM Webpage
A new ILM Skywarn webpage created entirely by volunteer Amateur Radio Operators within the NWS Wilmington area of responsibility is up and running. The web address is: http://ilm-skywarn.net/. This webpage connects Skywarn Storm Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators within the area, resulting in consistent reporting procedures between the groups, and will become a very effective way to provide weather reports to the NWS during severe weather events. The Amateur Radio Event Coordinators (ECs) who operate the Skywarn networks in the NWS Wilmington area of responsibility will be able to submit reports during any type of hazardous weather situation. “As a webmaster for many non-profit organizations, I felt that a website would greatly assist in the coordination efforts of the counties in the NWS Wilmington area of responsibility”, explains Mike Leek, volunteer Assistant Event Coordinator for Grand Strand Skywarn.
The webpage is also designed to be a resource for a variety of other Skywarn related information. Glenn Cox, volunteer Cape Fear Area Skywarn Event Coordinator states “The Skywarn program has shown itself to be a valued asset in providing critical weather reports from trained spotters to the NWS”. Additional information includes: a schedule for upcoming Spotter training, links to online training, reporting guidelines and procedures, listing of the Event Coordinators and Assistant Event Coordinators, and details about the repeater frequencies of the Skywarn nets in the area. Lastly, the new Spotter’s Field Guide is also available for download.
Another unique feature about the web page is a section dedicated to a growing network of “Sky Cams”. Since rapid advances in video technology have resulted in cheaper equipment people are setting up “Sky Cams” so that weather can be directly observed at their location remotely. Anybody with a video camera hooked up to their PC can help the NWS by directing their camera links to the new Skywarn webpage. For more information about setting up and helping the NWS with “Sky Cams” please contact Mike Leek, Grand Strand Skywarn, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Glenn Cox, Cape Fear Skywarn at email@example.com.
Here are the details for the next Basic Skywarn & Weather Safety training session:
Date/Time: May 30, 2014 @ 10 AM EDT
Location: Dillon County Fire Station #1 205 West Howard St., Dillon, SC 29536
Contact: Joshua.Weiss@noaa.gov for more information