SKYWARN, founded in the early 1970's is made up of a group of trained, dedicated amateur weather enthusiast who work in conjunction with the National Weather Service by observing and reporting adverse weather conditions to promote public safety and minimize property damage. In the advent of Doppler Radar, and other technologies, the art and science of weather forecasting has made great strides, but even with all the technology, the National Weather Service still is in need of 'ground truth' observers. It is through training that the NWS teaches interested volunteers to be safe, effective and accurate weather spotters who provide them with the needed ground truths.
SKYWARN, generally speaking, is placed on stand-by when a severe weather watch is posted by the National Weather Service. Once that watch is upgraded to a warning, SKYWARN becomes activated and spotters are asked to make severe weather observations. After making an observation that is reportable, there are several ways to relay the information to the National Weather Forecast Office which include: telephone, amateur radio, and an online storm report form (Old report form). Some of the reports are used to send out statements, warnings and short-term forecasts to the public via the media. The reports also go into "Storm Data", which is a publication that documents severe weather across the country and can be used to create a severe weather climatology database of a specific county, city or region of the country.
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