Skywarn is a weather spotter program of the United States’ National Weather Service (NWS). Its mission is to collect reports of localized severe weather. These reports are used to aid forecasters in issuing and verifying severe weather watches and warnings and to improve the forecasting and warning processes and the tools used to collect meteorological data. Reports are also used by local emergency managers and public safety officials. Many of these spotters are amateur radio operators who relay information back to the amateur radio control station at the National Weather Service.
Springhill area hams assist the National Weather Service in times of local severe weather. When the Skywarn net is activated from the National Weather service at the Shreveport Regional Airport, local hams check in on the net, give their location and assist the net control at the weather station with visual accounts of what is actually happening where they are located. Local area VHF and UHF repeaters are used to relay information. The NWS control may dispatch the mobile amateur radio operators to areas where they need actual reports of the damage that has taken place or to confirm sightings of specific weather events. Such events may be the occurrence of hail, the actual sighting of a funnel cloud, the existence of straight line winds, etc. The National Weather Service uses this information to make better predictions and to warn citizens who are in the path of the approaching storms.
For more information on the Skywarn network use the link below or talk to a local area ham who will be familiar with skywarn.
Skywarn link: https://www.skywarn.org/