What is Skywarn®?
The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.
Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.
Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. In 2012, the NWS deployed dual-doppler technology to replace the 1988 technology of the Doppler radar. Dual doppler scans the atmosphere on a dual-axis (vertical and horizontal) that gives greater detail to the storms. This has increased lead times on what the meteorologists see and can ask for confirmation from locations at greater distances from the radar.
SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time--seconds and minutes that can help save lives.
Who is Eligible?
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.
How Can I Get Involved?
NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local area. Training is conducted at these local offices and covers:
- Basics of thunderstorm development
- Fundamentals of storm structure
- Identifying potential severe weather features
- Information to report
- How to report information
- Basic severe weather safety
Classes are free and typically are about two hours long. The informational talks in our area are typically given during February through early April schedule in all of the 26 counties served by the Wichita Office. No formal training is required, however you can add to these presentations by using one of the following resources for further education and study.
Ham radio operators are a vital link in the spotter and communication network used by the NWS during severe or otherwise inclement weather. Hams are duty bound by holding an FCC license to help without picuniary gains in many emergency responses. Not only do they report what they see with their own eyes, they also provide communications to other NWS offices should normal communication modes fail. New repeaters continue to be installed by dedicated and hard-working hams to expand their networks. We also continue to learn of and put into use these new systems as soon as possible. The K-Link system covers an ever growing portion of Kansas
K-Link and KØHAM/NEKSUN Repeater link systems can be linked together allowing storm coverage from the Wichita NWS area to be monitored in the north central Kansas in the Hastings, NE NWS service areas, the northeast Topeka, KS NWS service area, and overlaps with the Stateline Network into the Dodge City NWS. Thanks to Justin, NØUJQ, and Brian, KCØBS for their collaberation to allow these systems to link when appropriate!
El Dorado 443.100+[162.2] is the South Central Kansas Hub and connects to the K-Link system via IRLP Node 7551. It can be monitored via Audio Feed using Broadcastify. Please read the K-Link guidelines page prior to using the system. Please visit the Frequencies link page for all linked repeaters in the two systems. K0HAM is not mapped in at this time. IRLP Node 7644 has been added to the Minneapolis hub to allow areas of Kansas to link in that are not presently able to connect via repeater links.
Wichita ARC's Hutchinson 146.820[103.5] at 200' and Derby Repeater 146.850[103.5PL], both are WØUUS' are connected to the Stateline Skywarn System in Nashville/Kingman, KS and covers the southwestern counties of the Wichita warning area as well as going in to Oklahoma and further west into the Dodge City warning area.
The Stateline Skywarn System can reach into Kingfisher, OK.
WXØICT is now on EchoLink Node #361677. Echolink is also available for most every platform of smartphone so check the apps for your phone. There is more latency via phones. We urge any hams in southeast Kansas to use Echolink. One of the Advisory Group members will try to be on Echolink when weather warrants in the Wichita county warning area.
If you notice errors or omissions on this web site, need to change your spotter address or cell phone number, e-mail Kent Stutzman, or know of new repeaters that needs to be added, or have a SKYWARN®/spotting question, e-mail Jordan Henion so he can take care of your request ASAP. Note: These email addresses are not for sending severe weather reports, but instead are for administrative tasks.