SKYWARN

What is SKYWARNTM?

SKYWARNTM is a nationwide network of volunteer storm spotters trained by the National Weather Service (NWS) to report significant weather. Anyone with an interest in weather is welcome to participate. To become a trained storm spotter, you need to attend a storm training session, offered at various times and places across the Morristown County Warning Area.

The SKYWARN Storm Spotter Program was created by the National Weather Service (NWS) to improve warning services. The NWS needs real-time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain, tornadoes, and waterspouts to effectively warn the public of inclement weather.

Why SKYWARNTM?

The National Weather Service’s mission is to protect lives and property with safety being the top priority. When weather conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes to develop, a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch is issued. A severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued when severe weather has been reported by a SKYWARNTM spotter or indicated by Doppler radar. SKYWARNTM volunteers become the NWS’s and local Emergency Management’s eyes and ears, helping them to provide the public with better weather watch and warning services.

Who will activate SKYWARNTM?

The NWS and/or the local emergency management authorities may activate the SKYWARNTM net whenever there is a threat of severe weather or when the NWS issues a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch. In this case, information may be relayed through amateur radio repeaters. Localized events may be phoned directly to the NWS and/or local emergency management.

Where will SKYWARNTM observations be taken?

SKYWARNTM reports are relayed from on the road, while at work, or at your home. It is important not to jeopardize your own safety by placing yourself in the path of severe weather while participating in SKYWARNTM.

SKYWARNTM and Amateur Radio Operators

HAM radio operators have a special place in the SKYWARNTM program. NWS offices have HAM equipment on site. SKYWARNTM nets run by the volunteer amateur radio net control operators allow for reports to be directly heard at National Weather Service offices.

How do I join SKYWARNTM?

For additional information on SKYWARNTM including times and locations of storm spotter training sessions, please e-mail Erik McCord (District Coordinator). You may also take online spotter classes from MetEd: Role of the Skywarn Spotter, Skywarn Spotter Training, and Skywarn Spotter Convective Basics.

Where can I find educational materials on storm spotting?

For storm spotters, there are two spotter guides to get you started: Basic Spotters’ Field Guide (in PDF format) and Advanced Spotters’ Field Guide (in PDF format).