May 22, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

North America's Premiere Amateur Radio News Magazine

National Weather Service SKYWARN volunteers spot storms in Knox County. Want to join? (Tennessee)

Between 1870 and Aug. 7 of this year, there have been 338 tornadoes observed across the 40 counties monitored by the National Weather Service office in Morristown.

Fifty-five of those tornadoes touched down on a single day: April 27, 2011.

During severe events like that violent spring tornado outbreak, the Morristown office relies on its powerful radar to warn the public. But its other greatest tool for keeping the public safe is a bevy of amateur radio operators called SKYWARN, the National Weather Service’s eyes on the ground.

“Our greatest technology that we use here is our radar, and I would say the SKYWARN spotter network is a pretty close second,” said Anthony Cavallucci, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “I think a lot of people just automatically assume we know what’s happening on the ground, and we really don’t until somebody reports it. Those reports are really quite helpful.”

Morristown’s 4,081 trained spotters from ages 12 to over 80 years old report what they see to the office, and there is always a need for more volunteers, Cavallucci told Knox News. There are 390 spotters living in Knox County.

The office hosts training sessions both in-person and online throughout the year, and you don’t have to know how to operate a radio to join. SKYWARN also uses an app and phone calls to get reports. Those who complete a training class get their own spotter ID and certification, which last four years.

Read more – Knoxville News-Sentinel: