SKYWARN Severe Weather Nets

During selected severe weather events the MRC operates a SKYWARN severe weather net to collect and relay storm reports to the National Weather Service (NWS).

During a Severe Weather net, the Courtesy message tone or “beep” on the repeater will change to a cw letter “N”. This is your notice that a controlled “Net” is in operation. Normal “rag chew” operation must stop, and all traffic is managed by the Net Control Station.

NWS Radar Map

HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE

During selected severe weather events (typically a Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches), a Skywarn/Weather Net will be activated on 146.910 repeater.  A Net Control Station will then direct radio traffic, provide updates, and request storm reports using a standard  reporting criteria and reporting format..

This reporting criteria and reporting format has been established for all Skywarn/weather net frequencies within the 20 counties served by the Milwaukee/Sullivan National Weather Service office. This format established by the Sullivan Committee ensures brevity and uniform reporting so that even  the most catastrophic weather events can be reported within 40 seconds! We also have a logging sheet for you to keep track of your observations.

Our reports are then relayed to the NWS to help verify radar data so that the appropriate warnings can be issued. Our severe weather reports also permit us to individually test our operational readiness and emergency communication skills.

What you need to do:

1. Learn the weather reporting criteria and how to format your on-air report.

2. Determine your distance and compass direction from the nearest city within your county.

3. Use the 4W format (Who are you? What are you observing? Where did you observe it? When did you observe it (12 hour format)?

 

SKYWARN is a nation wide volunteer network of  “storm spotters” who are trained to Identify, Evaluate, and Report severe weather events. These volunteers come from all walks of life, but are frequently fire or police personnel, emergency response groups, and ham radio operators. A keen interest in weather and community service is a common bond. They support their local communities and governments by providing the National Weather Service with “ground-truth” reports in real time of tornadoes, large hail, property damage, flooding, snow fall amounts, etc.

These storm spotter reports assist meteorologists to correlate Doppler radar data and other spotter reports to issue appropriate statements and warnings in a more accurate and timely fashion, thus protecting life and property. The Skywarn program was originally developed in the late 1960’s and today there are over 286,000 trained weathers spotters across the U-S.