NWS Charleston SKYWARNTM/Storm Spotter Program
About the Storm Spotter/SKYWARNTMProgram
Storm Spotter/SKYWARNTM is a voluntary program
developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) to improve the warning program. Storm Spotter volunteers serve
as severe weather spotters for the NWS and local emergency management
programs, and generally have two things in common - an interest in the weather
and an interest in serving their community.
The NWS needs real-time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain,
tornados, and waterspoutsin order to effectively warn the public. Even as new technology allows the NWS to
issue warnings with more lead time, spotters will always be needed as links between radar
indications of severe weather and ground truth information.
How to Become a NWS Storm Spotter
1) Attend one of our "Basic Spotter" training classes. We also offer an "Advanced Spotter" training session for those that want to learn more details about severe weather.
Check the latest Storm Spotter Training Schedule
(Adobe "PDF" Reader) to see if a class is scheduled near you.
2) Online/Web-based Option - If you cannot attend one of our training sessions in person, or you just want to refresh you knowledge of the Storm Spotter program, check out the training on the COMET MetEd web site. Note: You will need to register on the COMET web site to access the training.
If you chose option (2), be sure to follow the instructions in the Course Description section for how to become an official Storm Spotter for the NWS in Charleston, SC.
Contact Ron Morales, Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Phone: 843-744-0303 ext 223
What kind of severe weather reports do we need?
1. Tornadoes, waterspouts, funnel clouds or rotating wall clouds
2. Hail (Any size)
3. Estimated or measured wind speeds of 50 mph or greater
4. Flooding resulting in closed roads, property damage
5. Rainfall amounts greater than 1 inch per hour
6. Trees downed by wind (including large limbs)
7. Downed power lines
When reporting any of these events, it's very important to tell us WHEN
and WHERE they occurred. If it's a second or third
hand report, please give us the source of the original report, along with
all the applicable information in #1-7 above.
Click here for a quick reference sheet
with our reporting criteria and methodology.
0.25 inch - Pea
0.50 inch - Dime
0.75 inch - Penny
0.88 inch - Nickel
1.00 inch - Quarter
1.25 inches - Half dollar
1.50 inches - Ping pong ball
1.75 inches - Golf ball
2.00 inches - Hen egg
2.50 inches - Tennis ball
2.75 inches - Baseball
3.00 inches - Tea cup
4.00 inches - Grapefruit
4.50 inches - Softball
Please report the size of the largest hailstones as they cause the most damage.
Also, please do not use the term "marble size" or "ice cube" since these
items come in many different sizes.
25-31 mph: Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telephone wires and power lines.
32-38 mph: Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt walking in the wind.
39-55 mph: Twigs break off trees; wind generally impedes progress.
56-72 mph: Damage to chimneys and TV antennas; shallow-rooted trees pushed over.
73-112 mph: Surface of roofs peeled away; windows broken; mobile homes pushed or overturned; moving cars pushed off roads.
113-157 mph: Roofs torn off; weak buildings and mobile homes destroyed; large trees snapped and uprooted.
157+ mph: Severe damage; cars lifted off the ground.
Storm Spotter/SKYWARNTMOperations on 2 Meters
The Storm Spotter/SKYWARNTM program at NWS Charleston utilizes the vast 2 meter
amateur radio network across southeast South Carolina and adjacent southeast
Georgia to obtain severe weather reports. In the event of severe
weather, and at the discretion of the forecaster-in-charge, a net controller
will be called in to initiate a severe weather net. Although this
will occur primarily with large outbreaks, sometimes reports will be solicited
for smaller, less organized weather events.
In case of severe weather, NWS Charleston may monitor the following repeaters:
146.760 MHz...Awendaw SCHeart repeater
Additional repeaters include:
1) 146.715 MHz...White Hall SCHeart repeater
2) 147.105 MHz...Charleston SCHeart repeater
3) 146.790 MHz...USS Yorktown CARS repeater
4) 146.910 MHz...White Hall CARA repeater
5) 147.345 MHz...Adams Run TARC repeater
Additional repeaters include:
1) 147.330 MHz...Savannah
When a severe weather net is activated, the call sign for NWS Charleston is: WX4CHS
When calling net control, simply call "Charleston Weather". It is
not the intent of the net to provide the latest conditions and forecasts. The
net is set up to receive reports, not give them. Please remember this
so that the net will be successful.
Lowcountry Storm Spotter/SKYWARNTMNet
All amateurs are cordially invited to check in to the Lowcountry Storm Spotter/SKYWARNTM Net
every Tuesday night at 9 PM on the CARS and SCHeart repeater systems. The net is sponsored by the National Weather Service
in Charleston. The purpose is to practice calling a SKYWARNTM net and to encourage
hams to relay weather information to the National Weather Service in Charleston
if a net is activated. If severe weather is occurring or imminent at the weekly
net time, the net will be cancelled for that week. You'll be asked your name, call sign, spotter
number (if you have one), location, and a brief description of current weather
conditions at your location. We look forward to hearing from you!
NOTE:To access "PDF" files, you can download a free copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader by clicking here.