SKYWARN Program

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skywarn1.gif (6183 bytes) Who Are SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotters?

SKYWARN spotters in North Dakota consist mostly of emergency response officials and amateur radio operators. This is a volunteer public service. Each year our Spotters donate their time and equipment to help the NWS issue severe weather warnings.

National Weather Service Skywarn page

Skywarn Training Schedule online

FREE Online SKYWARN Training

To be considered a trained spotter...you must register here before taking these two courses.

Also, once you complete the courses, email nathan.heinert@noaa.gov with your location and contact information. 

These two courses cover the basics of being a SKYWARN Spotter. You will need to create a users account (FREE) on the MetEd website before viewing the courses.  Please contact the Bismarck National Weather Service if you are interested in becoming a SKYWARN Spotter after completing the training. 


Publications/Brochures/Booklets

Reference and Outreach materials are listed below to help you prepare for weather emergencies. Some publications are ONLY available online, no printed copies are available. Many of the materials below are available at Skywarn Spotter Training Talks. There is no charge for any of the publications. You need a free copy of Abobe reader to view pdf files. Some files are large, and may take several minutes to load depending on your internet connection speed.

SKYWARN/Spotter Reference Materials

Safety Materials

Owlie Skywarn Materials for Children


The CDARC (Central Dakota Amateur Radio Club), at their April meeting and skywarn training, named Zach Heinert (K0ZSH) as their skywarn spotter of the year for 2011. Zach was extremely active as net controller at the NWS Bismarck office during the 2011 severe summer weather season. Pictured are, from left, Howard Burns (WB0ATB) CDARC Member-At-Large, Zach Heinert, and John Paul Martin (KB0YLU) NWS Bismarck WCM.

 Amateur Radio Networks

Amateur Radio SKYWARN Frequencies (in West and Central North Dakota)

  • Beach - 146.730 MHz
  • Bismarck - 146.850 MHz or 146.940 MHz
  • Bowman - 145.310 MHz
  • Carrington - 146.670 MHz
  • Dickinson - 146.820 MHz 
  • Hannover - 145.430 MHz
  • Jamestown - 147.180 MHz
  • Killdeer - 146.640 MHz
  • Minot - 146.970 MHz or 147.270 MHz
  • New Salem - 146.520 MHz
  • Sherwood - 146.580 MHz
  • Stanley - 146.610 MHz
  • Williston - 147.210 MHz

Most of these sites can be linked together.  In times of severe weather, this "link" allows amateur radio operators at the NWS in Bismarck to communicate with those directly affected by the storm.  The callsign for the NWS in Bismarck is W0ZRT.   Amateur radio operators are a vital part of the NWS severe weather warning program.

Amateur Radio Links

More Information on the SKYWARN Training

Emergency response officials, amateur radio operators, and the general public are all encouraged to attend. The 90 minute training occur each spring throughout most of the counties in North Dakota. It is free of charge and is sponsored by your local County Emergency Manager (CEM). Requests for trainings should come through your CEM.

SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter training seminars  consist of the following:
  1. What to expect in your county
  2. Safety, safety, safety
  3. Severe weather cloud identification and reporting

The National Weather Service will issue a warning for only one or both of the following reasons; Doppler radar detects severe weather or SKYWARN spotters report severe weather. If a warning is issued for your location, you are in danger and need to seek shelter.

The biggest supporters of the SKYWARN program are emergency response officials and amateur radio operators. One of the best ways to get involved is to talk with an amateur radio operator. If you have a scanner, tune in to a local amateur radio SKYWARN net (see list above) to get a feel for what is involved.

Contact your local County Emergency Manager  for location and time of the SKYWARN training in your county this spring.

For additional information on the SKYWARN program, contact  John.Paul.Martin@noaa.gov

 



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