Skywarn, formed in
the early 70's, has historically provided critical severe weather
information to the NWS in time to get the appropriate warnings issued.
Thus, the key focus of the Skywarn program is to save lives and property
through the use of the observations and reports of trained volunteers. (Gropper,
1993) Despite the elaborate radar and forecasting equipment at the
National Weather Service, they are only able to determine the potential
for severe weather. They rely on reports from the public and law
enforcement personnel and actual severe weather. Accurate and reliable
information from the general public is difficult to obtain. Severe
weather is complicated and confusing. The NWS has found that only
regular training of weather spotters improves the quality of
REQUIREMENTS FOR SKYWARN MEMBERSHIP
The only requirements for becoming a member of the SKYWARN volunteer network is an interest in watching the sky and a dedication to helping save lives. In Northeast Louisiana, however, the program is built primarily around the the Amateur Radio community, because of their extensive communication network. (Information on acquiring an Amateur Radio License is available on another page) The National Weather Service has offices at many locations around the country. The two NWS offices that serve Northeast Louisiana are located in Shreveport, La, and Jackson, Ms. The Doppler radar, called NEXRAD (NEXt generation RADar) is located in both cities, as well. NEXRAD is designed to improve the detection of severe storms so that the NWS can provide more accurate and timely warnings to the public.
SKYWARN is an integral part of this detection and warning process. NEXRAD will help locate and track potentially severe and dangerous storms, but it is SKYWARN spotters that report what the storm is actually doing (trees blown down, a tornado on the ground, flood waters washing out a bridge, a dangerous glaze of ice on the roads and wires, etc). SKYWARN spotters are trained to spot tornadoes, funnel clouds, and severe thunderstorms. They are told how to report hail, strong winds, heavy rain, floods, and snow. Forecasters combine information from spotters with that of radar, satellite and other tools. This information is then used to provide appropriate warnings for communities downstream from the storm and to keep people informed about what is happening and what steps they may need to take to protect themselves.
UPCOMING SKYWARN CLASSES
spotter network is a vital element in the nation's ability to react to
dangerous and threatening weather. Spotters are a crucial front-line
part of the Weather Service's storm warning program; they provide
up-to-the-minute reports on developing storms and for confirming reports
on storms that appear threatening. Most importantly, spotters' reports
help give communities a first line of defense against hazardous weather.
It does not overstate the importance of spotter reports to say that the
weather safety of the U.S. public rests on the quality and timeliness of
those ground truth reports. While there have been important strides in
storm detection technology, ground truth observations remain crucial to
effective storm warnings. And while the scientific understanding of
storm structure has grown, on-the-spot observations remain at the heart
of continuing to increase that body of knowledge. Spotters are the eyes
and ears of the National Weather Service.
This site was last updated 05/06/06
This site maintained by LaApostolic.net