Chris Novy's annual call for SKYWARN video

Dec 10, 2003
I'm posting this as a courtesy. Please contact Chris at [email protected] if you have any questions or submissions.

After what's been a relatively dismal severe storm season, a
surprisingly tranquil tropical season, and so far a record
early-season snow season my mind is going into winter mode. For
severe storm enthusiasts this is the time of year when many of you
crawl into a cave and have dreams of next year (hopefully a better
one than this year). For me, however, it's time to start working on
next year's SKYWARN presentations.

Each year I make my "annual call for SKYWARN video" to several
weather-related lists. Each year I have received wonderful support
from people willing to donate footage and/or provide me with ideas
for improving SKYWARN training. I'm hoping that despite a poor storm
season this year that some of you will have some new materials which
will be useful for training new and existing storm spotters.

Last year I moved to Oklahoma City (you know that place which used to
be known for having storms). I've been working closely with the
National Weather Service OUN in providing advanced training within
their CWA in addition to the many classes I've been teaching outside
the state. I plan to share any video provided to me this coming year
with NWS OUN to help them continue to improve their own training and
to make your videos better known within NWS offices throughout the country.

OK, so what kind of footage am I looking for? Well, basically put
yourself in the shoes of a newbie storm spotter --perhaps someone
who has never been in the field yet. Now think about all the things
that a spotter might need to know:

--how the NWS operates and what SKYWARN is designed to do
--basic meteorology and understanding NWS forecasts and products
--how and when to go looking for severe weather
--how to safely drive and operate in and near storms
--what to report and how to report it

Getting more specific now, I'm interested in going beyond the obvious
and addressing the more subtle and difficult aspects of spotter
training. I'm looking for footage which illustrates things which can
fool, confuse, injure, and kill spotters. That means obvious
situations (big tornadoes like Dan Robinson's Illinois monster),
ambiguous/challenging situations that beg the question "what the heck
am I looking at?", and dangerous situations such as flood victims,
close lightning strikes, dangerous parking or other stupid people tricks.

I am looking for examples of:

-same event but shot by different observers from different perspectives
-developing tornadoes, gustnadoes, funnel clouds, dust devils, fire whirls
-heavy rain, flooding, flash flooding, rain-related driving problems
-hail falling, hail damage, hail measurement
-lightning strikes (especially cloud-to-ground), strike damage
-high winds, blowing dusts, power lines down, scary cloud motion
-damage, debris, closed roads, washed out bridges, storm victims And I am looking for shots and/or audio recordings of spotters in action:

-communicating their observations (good examples and bad)
-using wind gages, GPS, two-way radio, XM, and other tools of the trade
-directing traffic, clearing debris, assisting victims,
interacting with cops
-watching the weather, being affected by the weather
-operating in heavy traffic, getting stuck in the mud, broke down vehicles
-spotter "bling" (tricked out spotter or chaser vehicles)
-humorous stuff (use your imagination)

I am also looking for any media clips which show good and bad local
severe weather coverage.

Use your imagination. What kind of material do you think spotters
need to know? What kind of stuff did you feel was lacking from the
last spotter class you attended? If you are an advanced spotter
think about what kind of materials more seasoned spotters might
benefit from. I like it when people send me a clip along with an
explanation saying "Chris, in this video three spotters were
reporting a tornado and this is what they were actually looking
at". My goal it to provide good training to brand new spotters while
at the same time bring new materials to experienced spotters and get
them thinking.

If you've got footage and/or you have recommendations I would like to
hear from you. Many of you put together highlight videos each year
and I find these to be very useful in training. Often even more
useful is the footage people *omit* from their highlights because
they think it's not exciting enough or the quality is too poor. I'm
talking about that fuzzy distant tornado, that crappy rainy
zero-visibility video, that dark and hard-to-see nighttime feature,
and of course all those goofs you'd rather not let other people
see! My presentations are pretty polished but your footage certainly
doesn't have to be.

I provide on-screen credit for all people who provide footage and I
also get a lot of questions from participants asking where they can
buy the various DVDs you folks make. So in addition to helping me
with my training mission I can help you with your video distribution mission.

As always, I never provide anyone with copies of your footage or of
my presentation (and believe me people ask for this all the time). I
do not charge for giving classes and I only present live. As I
stated earlier however, I do plan on sharing this year's new footage
with the NWS OUN unless you specifically request that I don't let them have it.

So if you can help me out I would really appreciate it. Contact me
off-list at [email protected] and let me know what footage or ideas you
have. Also, if you have footage from previous years which I (and
more importantly other spotters) haven't seen I'm interested in that too.

I generally prefer raw, unedited, footage when possible. This means
no music, no titles, no special effects. It's a lot easier for me to
edit raw footage than to re-edit stuff which has been heavily
processed. Is there swearing or colorful language? Don't worry
about it. I'd rather hear it and decide how to use it than to ruin
what might be a very scary and realistic moment full of natural
sounds become a comedy piece because you bleeped all the
"descriptive" words. That said, I'm still interested in highlight
video if it's easier for you to make me a copy.

I can use video in just about any format imaginable but DVD or mini
DV are the easiest for me to work with.

Thanks again to all who have helped me with this important project in
the past and those of you willing to help me in 2007.

..Chris.. WA9V (Yukon, OK)
Hi- I have some amusing video to send. I emailed him but have not heard back.
I'd like to know the sepcifics of sending him the videos.
Do you know if he's on vacation/break?