Skywarn

skywarn-logoSKYWARN is a program of the National Weather Service (NWS)

Mercer County Skywarn consists of over 100 trained weather spotters, many of whom are amateur radio operators (hams), who cover the 13 municipalities that make up Mercer County. These dedicated spotters observe and report severe weather conditions to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Mount Holly, NJ. Spotters participate in periodic ongoing training by the National Weather Service.

Weather observations are reported to the NWS by telephone, Facebook, and ham radio.

SKYWARN REPEATERS AND FREQUENCIES

  • N2RE, David Sarnoff Radio Club 146.46 (+1.000, PL 131.8)

REPORTING PROCEDURES

Skywarn is activated either by an announcement from the National Weather Service Forecast Office (over NOAA All-Hazards Radio or by e-mail alert), or when certain severe weather conditions present. BE SURE THAT THE EVENT YOU ARE REPORTING IS A REPORTABLE EVENT (see criteria below).

Spotters may report conditions to the NWS Forecast Office on Facebook, or by phone using the number on your Spotter ID card. WHEN DOING SO, PLEASE PROVIDE (1) YOUR SPOTTER I.D., (2) THE DATE AND TIME OF YOUR OBSERVATION, (3) YOUR LOCATION, AND (4) DETAILS OF YOUR OBSERVATION. YOUR MESSAGE SHOULD BE AS DIRECT AND SHORT AS POSSIBLE.

Reports sent to Mercer County Skywarn by Facebook will be forwarded to NWS as soon as practicable.

RADIO NET ACTIVATIONS AND REPORTING

When Skywarn is activated on amateur radio, the first Skywarn Spotter on the repeater should act as the Net Control Station (NCS) until relieved or until the weather event is terminated. Normally, the NWS activation announcement will indicate the expiration time of a watch or warning. The NCS directs the net activities by maintaining a list of stations in the net, gathering information (i.e., spotter reports), and communicating reports to NWS (or delegating the reporting to another station in the net). Reporting to NWS should be done during the net or immediately following, depending upon the circumstances. Radio operators interested in learning more about net operations can read this information provided by the American Radio Relay League.

SKYWARN is automatically activated whenever any of the following conditions are tone alerted over local NOAA Weather Radio:

WARM SEASON SKYWARN ACTIVATION

  • Flood Warnings
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
  • Tornado Watches or Warnings
  • Tropical Storm Warnings
  • Hurricane Warnings

WARM WEATHER REPORTING CRITERIA

  • Wind Gusts 58 m.p.h. or greater
  • Rainfall rate of 1 inch per hour
  • Flooding
  • Tornadoes
  • 1″ Hail (the size of a quarter)
  • Funnel Clouds
  • Wall Clouds
  • Coastal Flooding

COOL SEASON SKYWARN ACTIVATION AND REPORTING CRITERIA

  • Blizzard Warnings
  • Flood Warnings
  • High Wind Warnings
  • Winter Storm Warnings
  • Snow in excess of 3 inches per hour
  • Any ice accumulation

Spotters should report Snowfall Accumulations based on the following criteria:

  • When snow accumulates 1 inch (especially when none is forecast)
  • When snow accumulates 3 inches (the NWS issues an advisory for 4 inches)
  • When snow accumulates 5 inches (the NWS issues a warning for 6 inches)
  • When snow accumulates 1 inch in 1 hour
  • Storm Total Snowfall

Wind Speed Estimates (m.p.h.):

  • 39 – 54 Small limbs break off trees
  • 55 – 72 Downed shallow rooted trees, power lines
  • 73 – 112 Minor structural damage, Trailers overturned
  • 113 + Major structural damage, Trailers destroyed