FEMA Individual Assistance Preliminary Damage Assessments Specialist Cynthia Lavigne and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Project Specialist Diane Nestler survey repair efforts following damage to Pennsylvania homes caused by Hurricane Sandy. Travel trailer technicians assigned to the Hope, AR, FEMA Emergency Housing Staging Site conduct a final check on seven travel trailers that will serve as emergency housing for those recently affected by tornadoes in Dumas, AR. SKYWARN is a nationwide network of volunteer weather spotters who are trained by and report to the National Weather Service (NWS). SKYWARN dates to 1965, when the NWS survey team formed to investigate the April 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak found a lack of coordinated severe storm spotting networks. SKYWARN spotter networks are usually activated whenever there is a threat of severe weather, which is usually preceded by the issuance of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, Tornado Watch, Flood Watch or some other type of watch. Spotters are asked to report any occurrence of significant or severe weather to their SKYWARN Emergency Coordinator, SKYWARN Net Controller or directly to their local National Weather Service office.

While many SKYWARN spotters are amateur radio operators, anyone can become a SKYWARN spotter. SKYWARN spotter reports can be relayed from whatever your location may be - your home, office, on the road or in your neighborhood. Spotters report many forms of significant or severe weather such as Severe Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Hail, Freezing Rain, Heavy Snow and Flooding.
Joining is easy, and you will find that providing valuable weather information is both an educational and rewarding experience.
Information is relayed to the NWS via Amateur Radio, Packet Radio, Telephone (800#s) or the Internet. Because these reports contain actual readings of what is being detected by radar and satellite, they are of tremendous assistance in assessing the status of the current storm as well as post-storm damage.

All that is required is attendance at an interesting 2- to 3-hour training session offered by your local NWS office.
The training courses are offered most often in the spring and fall of each year and are held throughout the New York State. Upcoming SKYWARN sessions are announced in a variety of ways including NOAA Weather Radio, Packet Radio, SKYWARN newsletters, and NWS homepages as well as through local media outlets.

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