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|Who and What is Skywarn?
Citizens dedicated to protecting life and property
Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 6:18
National Weather Service Office in Wichita, KS
We welcomed Meteorologist In Charge Suzanne Fortin who joined the Wichita office in May 2012. Many thanks to Warning Meteorologist in Charge Chance Hayes along with Ken Cook, Robb Lawson, Jim Caruso, Kevin Darmofal, Paul Howerton and Brad Ketcham, Jerilyn Billings Wright, other staff and interns not mentioned for the many years of service to central, south central and southeastern Kansas. The Wichita NWS Field Office has been a model of excellence for many years. The public served in the warning area has experienced extended lead times of threatening weather.
Who and What is SKYWARN®?
NWS offices across the country utilize various spotter networks for severe and other inclement weather verification and reporting. The various spotter networks are comprised of emergency management officials, law enforcement, TV meteorologists and radio stations, fire fighters, EMS personnel, and road crews. We also utilize the general public with training taking place during the late winter and early spring as NWS personnel travel to various counties to provide training. A final group of spotters utilized by our NWS office are amateur radio operators. These and other agencies not listed are working together with Wichita Skywarn group members creating an active, reliable sources to protect and serve the public.
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 2011, the Dual-Polarized 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. This is especially true as the radar continues to scan higher at as it gets at greater distance from the radar. 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."
Who is Eligible?
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 -- more lead time minutes that can help save lives.
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such as ham radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include Emergency Management trained personnel, firefighters, sports directors with summer and school sporting events, and others who have the responsibility of protecting the public are also encouraged to become a spotter.
There are a few essential requirements to becoming a SKYWARN® volunteer.
To be a good SKYWARN® member - to be someone that:
- Basics of thunderstorm development
- Fundamentals of storm structure
- Identifying potential severe weather features
- Information to report
- How to report information
- Basic severe weather safety
- Follow posted and normal driving laws
There is room for people who are new and experienced in SKYWARN®!
- Is safe and not in the way
- Gives concise meaningful weather ground truth information
- Refrains from giving unnecessary weather reports
- Who has good equipment that functions
- Who continues to improve their weather education
- Knows that we are all volunteers, not working for the NWS
How can I get involved?
Every year the National Weather Service in Wichita conducts spotter training sessions. Individuals as 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 2 hours. More information on Storm Spotter clases will be posted on our at the top of this page when they become available. There are no required courses, however you can learn a great deal from the resources listed below.
Amateur Radio Operators
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, but they can report what others see, and 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.