by Phil Hysell, Warning Coordination Meteorologist
The eighth annual SKYWARN Recognition Day will take place Friday evening December 1st through Saturday December 2nd (0000-2400 UTC). During this time, regional amateur radio operators and members of the National Weather Service (NWS) will gather at our office and contact other radio operators at other NWS offices, as well as contacts around the world.
While trying to make as many contacts as possible, in as many different locations, is fun, the real importance of this day is to celebrate the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN radio operators make to the National Weather Service. During many dangerous weather situations, our office acquires real time weather information from SKYWARN radio operators in the field. These operators will report the position of a tornado, which roads are flooded, how strong the winds are blowing, or how much snow has accumulated. All of this information is critical to the mission of the NWS which is to preserve life and property. If a widespread severe weather event is anticipated, amateur radio operator volunteers will come to our office to help field incoming severe weather information, often leaving work or their families.
So, the next time you hear a storm report from the National Weather Service that alerts people in the path of the storm what type of weather is headed their way, it may have come from one our many dedicated SKYWARN radio operators. The National Weather Service in Blacksburg sincerely appreciates the SKYWARN radio operators who submit and document this critical information.For more information about amateur radio operations at the NWS office in Blacksburg, visit the Blacksburg Skywarn Amateur Radio Page