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Skywarn

Just wanted to find out what kind of input, if any, I could supply Skywarn if I were to spot something noteworthy while in the United States?

I'm always happy to help out, on the other hand I wouldn't want to mess up protocol. The net controller's job is hard enough.
 
You really don't report to Skywarn itself, but to a local NWS office either via phone or HAM radio.
 
Originally posted by John Hudson
Just wanted to find out what kind of input, if any, I could supply Skywarn if I were to spot something noteworthy while in the United States?

Your help is ALWAYS appreciated. If you see something worthy of being reported (typically 0.75" hail or larger, tornado, flash flooding or damage from wind or other storm related damage). If you can get your hands on a list of the 800 numbers for the various NWS offices that might be handy. Otherwise find someone or some way to relay any report to any office. Once you contact someone who can contact the appropriate office the report will get to them.

For example, I have in the past had to call MPX (Minneapolis, MN) while in Kansas because I didn't know how to contact the Topeka office to report a tornado. They were glad to relay the report. Although if you can contact the appropriate office directly that's always best.

If you're a ham radio operator, find the list of skywarn repeaters in the areas you'll be chasing. Hopefully it will be a friendly net that welcomes you on it, but sometimes you find nets that are locked down to only specfic spotters they allow on the net.

If you're able to find a Skywarn frequency and have something to report it's probably a rare day. At least in well populated areas most things are already reported 70 times by the time I get to it. But regardless if you see a tornado... BREAK BREAK BREAK - TORNADO. and wait for a response and then tell them the specifics when someone acknowledges you.

Different locations might have different guidelines on the reporting process but I think that'd get your point across. :) I'd say if you're not familiar with the net I'd go for the phone if at all possible.

lastly, if none of these are options there is always 911 to report a tornado. I wouldn't use it for hail or something like that though. :)
 
Originally posted by Andrew Revering

lastly, if none of these are options there is always 911 to report a tornado. I wouldn't use it for hail or something like that though. :)

Honestly Andrew, there have been plenty of experiences that have shown that calling 911 to report and hoping the info is going to go any farther is fruitless. Best bet would be if there is something significant going on to just call the NWS and report it. Keep a list of NWS report numbers handy. I think Amos and some others even came up with something that overlays the numbers in Delorme.

Barring calling the NWS, the fastest way to get the word out is call the local TV station, most especially on the southern plains where most of them are focused on severe weather anyway. Actually, that is probably the FASTEST way to get the info to the public as they are reporting to the NWS as well, often in real time.

There have been a very few times I have called the local law enforcement and that has been in the local area when I knew something nasty was about to affect one of our rural towns.
 
I've never actually called 911 myself. Thanks for the warning.

I have used the media on one occasion for the first time last year. I saw a tornado and just as I was going to call it in I got a call from a TV Met who I was working for. I told him what I was looking at and his on air co-worker relayed the report to the NWS while I got out of there.

Saved me time and killed 2 birds with one stone. The station had the info to relay to the public a few seconds faster and the NWS got the info probably just as fast as if I were to hang up and call them myself.
 
Originally posted by Andrew Revering
I've never actually called 911 myself. Thanks for the warning.

I have used the media on one occasion for the first time last year. I saw a tornado and just as I was going to call it in I got a call from a TV Met who I was working for. I told him what I was looking at and his on air co-worker relayed the report to the NWS while I got out of there.

Saved me time and killed 2 birds with one stone. The station had the info to relay to the public a few seconds faster and the NWS got the info probably just as fast as if I were to hang up and call them myself.

The NWS probably got it faster that way actually. I can't say too much about our local operations due to NDA agreements, but let's just say that during during severe events in our area, the forecasters are in direct, real time contact CONSTANTLY with the NWS forecasters. We usually know about warnings coming out before they hit the autoscrollers and noaa radio. I suspect it is much the same across the southern plains states at least.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond

. I think Amos and some others even came up with something that overlays the numbers in Delorme..

Last year, myself and some other chasers found or created "draw files" that can overlap NWS phone numbers and county names in DeLorme Street Atlas 2005 (and this may work for other versions as well, but I don't know for sure).

The instructions and file locations are on my blog here under the Feb 1 entry:

http://www.cycloneroad.com/Archive/2006_02...01_archive.html

Also, Chris Novy posted these to WX-CHASE recently if anyone has access to those archives or saved emails.

These files are the best way I've found to maintain and access NWSFO phone numbers in a hurry.
 
Originally posted by Andrew Revering
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lastly, if none of these are options there is always 911 to report a tornado. I wouldn't use it for hail or something like that though. :)


I called 911 because I didn't have the number to EAX a few years ago for a rapidly rotating wall cloud (in my home county) they wouldn't relay it to EAX until a deputy confirmed it and the closest one (there are only 1 sheriff and 2 deputies here) was 10 miles away. I might as well called 411 and had them look up the number as slow as it took to get it reported. Im glad it never produced a tornado!
 
Originally posted by David Drummond+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(David Drummond)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Andrew Revering

lastly, if none of these are options there is always 911 to report a tornado. I wouldn't use it for hail or something like that though. :)

Honestly Andrew, there have been plenty of experiences that have shown that calling 911 to report and hoping the info is going to go any farther is fruitless. Best bet would be if there is something significant going on to just call the NWS and report it. Keep a list of NWS report numbers handy. I think Amos and some others even came up with something that overlays the numbers in Delorme.[/b]

I dunno, I think it's hit or miss depending on the jurisdiction. I once called 911 on a pretty obviously spinning wallcloud on a monster supercell just north of Kearney, Nebraska. This got them to toot the tornado horns in Kearney, which was a good thing since even though no tube dropped, half the town was clobbered by 5 inch hail (doing something like $20mil of damage).

I'd also call 911 for gorilla hail. 4 or 5 inch hail is an emergency for anyone who happens to be under the core. :D

Granted, this is all assuming that I don't have the NWS number handy, which, to be honest, is most of the time for me since I never think to scrawl it down before I head out. I figure it's probably better to call 911 than to call nobody at all.
 
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