[Alachua County SKYWARN]

What is Alachua Co. SKYWARN?

[Lightning strike to mobile home in Whitney Mobile Home Park, Aug. 31, 2001.] [NWS Logo: NWS-JAX Home Page] Alachua County SKYWARN is an organized system of trained local spotter volunteers operating under the NWS Severe Storm Reporting Networks program. "The fundamental objective of Severe Storm Reporting Networks is to provide timely and accurate reports of severe weather in support of the National Weather Service (NWS) Severe Local Storm Warning Program." (NWS Operations Manual, Part-B, Ch. 21, Para. 1) Alachua County SKYWARN spotters report severe weather-related events occuring within the county specifically to the Jacksonville Office (NWSO-JAX) of the National Weather Service, as well as to local Emergency Management, helping both to provide better weather watch and warning services to the public. (Counties in North Florida which are under the purview of the NWS-JAX County Warning Area (CWA) include: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, and Union.)

[July 17th, 1997 at Whitney Mobile
Home Park.  Damage to an aluminum
carport caused by the strong downward
winds of a microburst.] Alachua County SKYWARN plays host to both Basic and Advanced NWS Spotter Training sessions, which we try to offer on a repeating six-month basis (or as is convenient for the NWS-JAX instructors). These classes are usually taught by Angie Enyedi, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NWS-JAX. When sessions become scheduled they will appear in the SKYWARN Class Schedule.

[August 2nd, 1997.  A funnel
cloud look-a-like associated with
two colliding gust fronts. It's
actually just scud.] As it exists at this time, Alachua County SKYWARN consists of about 50-percent FCC-licensed amateur radio (``ham'') operators, and the rest being non-ham civilians. We hope to expand our corps in the future perhaps to include members of other services -- such as Citizens Band (CB) operators, Family Radio Service (FRS) operators, and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) operators. Though it gives you more capability, you don't have to have a radio at all in order to participate. ANYONE may participate in SKYWARN. All you need is a telephone, or a cell phone, and a telephone number to reach either local Emergency Management and/or NWS-JAX to make your report. And after you've successfully completed a spotter training course with us, we'll give you some special, private numbers reserved for just that purpose. To date, we've trained some 200+ people in at least BASIC weather spotting.

It includes people from all walks of life: farmers, law enforecement and fire/rescue employees, computer programmers, data entry operators, salesmen, teachers, students, alarm company employees, local and surrounding county EM agency employees, local reporters from the Gainesville Sun, WUFT-TV NEWS 5, the Chief Meteorologist at WCJB/TV-20, and even an ex-hurricane hunter who used to fly aboard early Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft!


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Alachua County SKYWARN
E-mail: admin@alachuaskywarn.org
Account Created: November 14, 1997.

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