Skywarn Spotter Reports
Ever wonder what kinds of observations Skywarn spotters call in to report? Occasionally, the National Weather Service will ask for reports about specific conditions, if they need visual confirmation for a particular storm. However, Skywarn spotters most typically report only the following conditions, as taught in our training classes:
Tornado: BREAK IN and report
Funnel Cloud: Report immediately
Rotating Wall Cloud: Observe 1 to 3 minutes and report
Non-Rotating Wall Cloud: Observe 5 to 10 minutes and report
Hail: Any size; largest, average, depth on ground
Significant Flooding: By moving water (NOT ponding)
High Wind Damage: Branches > 3 inches, roofs torn off
Skywarn spotters communicate via amateur radio on one or more amateur radio repeaters: 146.70, 147.21, or 147.00. Backup repeaters will be used as required, and ANNOUNCED by the Duty NCS based on storm track and availability of the repeaters. Spotters who are not amateur radio operators licensed by the FCC can send in their observations directly to the National Weather Service via their website.
"Dozens of radio amateurs helped the police and fire departments and other emergency services maintain communications in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC," narrator Cronkite intones in reference to ham radio's response on September 11, 2001. "Their country asked, and they responded without reservation." The video presentation, directed by Dave Bell, W6AQ, and narrated by former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, also a ham, runs approximately six minutes.
With the start of the severe weather season in the Upper Midwest, knowing how to protect yourself can mean the difference between life and death.0
Read about SKYWARN's involvement in the December 2000 Tuscaloosa, Alabama F4 tornado.
This is an excellent and comprehensive glossary of meteorology terms. Need a definition? Look it up here!
Extreme Weather Sourcebook
Follow this link to get comprehensive data on weather-related disasters in Minnesota (and all U.S. states)!
The Tornado Project Online
More information than you could ever ask for about tornadoes.
National Weather Service--Twin Cities
Complete weather data from our local National Weather Service office.
NOAA Weather Radio
Everyone should have one. Do you? Find out why they are so important.
National Severe Storms Laboratory
An excellent source of severe weather information.
Severe Storms On-line Meteorology Guide
This site is full of interesting extreme weather information.
Travel the Tornado Scale
See a great interactive representation of the damage caused by various sized tornadoes.