What is SKYWARN?
Who is Eligible?
- Skywarn (formed in the early 1970s) is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of volunteer severe
weather spotters. Skywarn volunteers support their local community and government by providing the NWS with
timely and accurate severe weather reports. These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are
used to inform communities of approaching severe weather. The focus of Skywarn (and of the NWS) is
simple...to save lives and property.
Since the early 1990s, the WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) has provided valuable information to
forecasters...with better detection of severe storm phenomena and more accurate and timely warnings.
However, even with the advance in technology..."ground truth" is still a very important part of the warning
process. "Ground truth" is what is actually occurring. Is the storm tornadic? Is it producing large hail?
How about damaging winds? Most of the "ground truth" is provided by trained storm spotters (through
Skywarn)...or the "eyes of the NWS."
How can I get involved?
- SKYWARN is not an exclusive club. People involved in public service and who have good communication
capabilities are encouraged to get involved.
- Every year the National Weather Service in Wichita conducts spotter training sessions. Individuals
are taught the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, what features to look for and
where to find them. What and how to report information and basic severe weather safety are also
covered. The class is a multi-media presentation which includes detailed video. The class typically
takes around 1 1/2 hours. More information on Storm Spotter clases will be posted on our
Spotter Talks Page when they become available.
- For information on the weekly Amateur Radio net click here.
For any questions, feel free to send us an email.