Skywarn®, a program of the National Weather Service (NWS), includes thousands of volunteer storm spotters who serve as a first line of defense against severe weather. Amateur Radio operators bring to storm spotting great resources; an established communications system that can function in an emergency, a pool of volunteers willing to be trained, a history of public service, and technologies that no other group has.
Note: When the Abilene area Skywarn® is activated; their call sign is K5ABI.
The Skywarn® Program is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service’s severe weather storm spotting program with nearly 350,000+ trained volunteers nationwide. Since the late 1960s, trained Skywarn® storm spotters have helped support the NWS’ primary mission of protecting life and property through the issuance of severe weather warnings. These dedicated citizens help keep their local community safe by conveying severe weather reports to their local NWS Forecast Office. Skywarn® spotters are integral to the success of our Nation’s severe weather warning system.
Every year the NWS conducts Skywarn® storm spotter training sessions. The NWS currently has 122 Weather Forecast Office’s across the nation, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the Skywarn® program in their local area. There is no charge and a typical class takes about 2 hours to conduct. To find out when a Skywarn® spotter class will be conducted in local your area, please contact your local Warning Coordination Meteorologist in San Angelo, Texas at https://www.weather.gov/sjt/.
SKYWARN Training Schedule
Date: Saturday, 24 February 2024
Time: 9:00 – 11:30 am
Location: Abilene Christian University
Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building (Hart Auditorium)
Abilene, Texas (Taylor County)
Additional Skywarn training dates/locations:
Skywarn® and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is a noncommercial membership organization of radio amateurs, organized for the promotion of interest in Amateur Radio. The National Weather Service works with ARRL Section Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers at the local level to establish Skywarn® radio networks, and/or other specialized weather emergency alert and relief systems. These local Skywarn® radio organizations act as communicators and spotters when severe weather and other disasters strike. The working partnership between NWS and ARRL is formally documented through a Memorandum of Understanding. NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologists are responsible for maintaining this working partnership with the local ARRL Skywarn® volunteers.
Taylor County Skywarn Group
SKYWARN Spotter Training
National Weather Service (NWS)
Storm Prediction Center [Norman, Oklahoma]
SKYWARN – when activated, the Abilene EOC (K5ABI) monitors the following 5 radio frequencies:
146.760 MHz – Primary
444.250 MHz – San Angelo/Abilene Link
146.960 MHz – Secondary
443.100 MHz – Link to Brownwood Fire Department Big Country Repeater
444.775 MHz – They also monitor the repeater in Sweetwater
SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) will mark its 21st anniversary on December 5, 2020 | 0000 to 2400 UTC. ARES, SKYWARN and other amateurs will operate from National Weather Service (NWS) forecast offices across the country in a nod to the long relationship between the Amateur Radio community and the NWS SKYWARN program. Developed by NWS and ARRL staff in 1999, SRD is cosponsored by the organizations.
Participants exchange contact information with as many NWS stations as possible on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meters, plus 70 centimeters. Contacts via repeaters are permitted. Stations should exchange call signs, signal reports, and locations, plus a quick description of the weather at your location (e.g., sunny, partly cloudy, windy, rainy, etc.). EchoLink and IRLP nodes, including Voice over Internet Protocol Weather Net (VoIP-WX), are expected to be active as well.
WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center will also be on the air for RD, 1300 – 1700 UTC. Event certificates are electronic and printable from the main website at the conclusion of SRD. Please see the SKYWARN Recognition Day website.
When the sky turns dark or the wind picks up, public service volunteers like SKYWARN storm spotters provide essential weather information as it’s happening. i.e. tornado; straight-line winds; large hail; flooding; or severe thunderstorms.
SKYWARN Recognition Day every first Saturday in December is a day to acknowledge their contributions to their communities.
The purpose of the observation is to recognize the vital public service contributions that Amateur Radio operators make during National Weather Service (NWS) severe weather warning operations. It also strengthens the bond between Amateur Radio operators and the local National Weather Service.
SKYWARN Recognition Day was created in 1999 by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) to recognize the importance that amateur radio provides during severe weather. Many NWS offices acquire real-time weather information from amateur radio operators in the field. These operators, for example, may report the position of a tornado, the height of flood waters, or damaging wind speeds during hurricanes. All of this information is critical to the mission of the NWS which is to preserve life and property. The special day celebrates this contribution by amateur radio operators.
December 2, 2023
December 7, 2024
December 6, 2025
December 5, 2026
December 4, 2027
December 2, 2028
December 1, 2029
Straight-Line Winds vs. Tornado: What’s the Difference?