SKYWARN is a concept developed in the early 1970’s that promotes a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and local communities. The emphasis of this effort is focused on the storm spotter, an individual who takes a position near their community and reports wind gusts, hail size, excessive rainfall and cloud formations that may signal a tornado or developing tornado.
The organization of spotters and the distribution of warning information lie with the National Weather Service Northern Indiana and our Emergency Management Agency within Steuben County. This varies across the country however, with local National Weather Service offices taking the lead in some locations, while Emergency Management or another agency may take the lead in another.
Skywarn Spotters are not by definition “Storm Chasers”. While their functions and methods are similar, the spotter stays close to home and usually has ties to a local group or agency. Storm Chasers often cover hundreds of miles a day. The term Storm Chaser covers a wide variety of people. Some are meteorologists doing specific research or are gathering basic information (like video) for training or comparison to radar data. Others chase storms to provide live information for the media, and others simply do it as a hobby.
Storm Spotting and Storm Chasing is dangerous and should not be done without proper training, experience and equipment.
The National Weather Service conducts spotter-training classes across the country and your local National Weather Service Office holds these classes in the spring of each year in Steuben County and others. Please consult the Northern Indiana NWS or one of the contacts listed below, in the spring, if you are interested in assisting your local community in the Skywarn program.
|Steuben County EMA
||Monday – Friday 8am to Noon|
|Bill or Sharon Brown