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Who and What is Skywarn?
Citizens dedicated to protecting life and property!
National Weather Service Office in Wichita, KS
Welcome Meteorologist In Charge Suzanne Fortin who joined the Wichita office in May 2012. Many thanks to Warning Meteorologist on Charge Chance Hayes along with Ken Cook, Robb Lawson, Jim Caruso, Kevin Darmofal, Paul Howerton and Brad Ketcham, Jerilyn Billings, other staff and interns not mentioned for the many years of service to central and southeastern Kansas. The Wichita NWS Field Office has been a model of excellence for many years and protected the lives of the warning area they serve with expanding lead times of threatening weather. It is an honor to be a Skywarn Member with this office. For Skywarn Members of the Wichita NWS that have not attended a Skywarn Recognition Day that live in the county warning area, we encourage you to attend in December. More details as that date comes closer.
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 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."
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.
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.
There are a few essential requirements to becoming a SKYWARN® volunteer.
To be a good SKYWARN® member - to be someone who:
- 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
Make each report you give LISTENED and ACTED on. If the SKYWARN® volunteers and the NWS recognize you when you give reports... and know that you have given a valid report. The Net controls will not position anyone asking for guidance.
- 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
- We are volunteers, not working for the NWS
There is room for people who are new ... and experienced... in SKYWARN®!
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.
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.
WXØICT is now on EchoLink! Node #361677. Echolink is also available for many smart phones, 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.
Newton 146.610[103.5PL] repeater is now on K-Link! A majority of the northwest counties are served by the K-Link system and we recommend the use of K-link for reports if the Links system is not busy. 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], 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.
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!
We will add other Linked systems or groups that welcome trained Skywarn Spotters on their nets.
If you notice errors or omissions, know of new repeaters that need to be added, need to change your spotter address or phone number, or just have a SKYWARN®/spotting question, drop the Skywarn Advisory Group a line so we can take care of your request ASAP. Note: This email address is not for sending severe weather reports, but instead is for administrative tasks.
I would like to notify all SKYWARN members including amateur and non-amateur radio operators that a new amateur radio advisory group has been established to further enhance the program that is currently in place.
The members include:
- Chance Hayes - KC0QBY - NWS
- Jordan Henion - K0JWH - Sedgwick Co
- Jim Enix - KC0QIE - Sedgwick Co
- Kent Stutzman - KB0RWI - Harvey Co
- Carl Anderson - N0ORS - Barton Co
- Teddy Banks - KC0WNY - Greenwood Co
- Russel Groves - WX0RG - Marion Co
- John Goerzen - KR0L - Marion Co
If you have any ideas you would like for the advisory group to take into consideration, please feel free to share through this forum, or contact me personally, so that I may take the idea to the advisory group. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your time and patience. We are looking forward to what the future brings and will try our best to meet the needs of the group, be it amateur radio or non-amateur radio, in helping to serve the people of central and southeast Kansas stay safe during times of hazardous weather.
Chance Hayes &&&posted 1 December 2012 1724Z