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SKYWARN® Nets

Safety and Precision: SKYWARN® Nets at Sabine Valley ARA

Welcome to the forefront of real-time weather observation and community safety with our SKYWARN® Nets at Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association (SVARA). Designed to serve the National Weather Service (NWS), our nets provide critical ground truth data during hazardous weather events, shaping vital warning decisions and supplementing radar observations.

Safety First:

In every weather net, safety takes precedence. Each spotter bears responsibility for their safety and property. If at any point a spotter feels unsafe due to approaching weather or any condition, we encourage them to prioritize safety, moving to a secure location and reporting their status to the Net Control Station (NCS) when practical.

Spotters are reminded to prioritize safety, especially during night operations, plan escape routes for adverse weather, obey all laws, and avoid distractions while driving. Mobile spotters are strongly encouraged to have a partner, carry a cell phone, and stay vigilant to hazards like slippery roads and flash flooding.

Three Stages Leading to a Weather Net:

The severe weather forecast typically progresses through three stages leading up to an event: outlook (6-72 hours), watch (2-6 hours), and warning (0-1 hour). Spotters are urged to increase readiness in each stage, preparing equipment, batteries, and ready kits accordingly.

Net Conditions:

  • Condition 4: Informal mode for check-ins and weather-related traffic. No minimum reporting criteria.
  • Condition 3: Disciplined traffic mode. Minimum reporting criteria announced by NCS.
  • Condition 2: Active mode focusing on rotating phenomena. Spotters should listen to NCS for guidance.
  • Condition 1: Standby/staging mode after a disruptive weather event.

Net Check-In:

Spotters can check in by providing their call sign, location, and whether they are fixed or mobile. Mobile spotters are encouraged to turn on APRS for safety reasons.

Positioning of Spotters:

Spotter positioning is strategic, not to place them in harm’s way but to enhance their effectiveness. Spotters feeling unsafe should move to a secure location immediately and inform NCS.

Reporting Criteria:

Spotters report specific criteria such as hail diameter, wall clouds, tornado details, wind speed, flash flooding, etc. Reporting examples are provided for clarity.

Flash Flood Warnings:

Special guidance for flash flood warnings, including the activation of an “F” Morse code tag on the repeater.

Net Check-Out and Post-Net Reports:

Spotters are encouraged to monitor the net until check-out, allowing an accounting of all spotters. Post-net reports of significant weather or damage are welcomed after the net returns to Condition 4.

NWS Position Regarding Severe Weather:

Effective January 4th, 2010, the NWS has adopted standardized criteria for issuing Severe Thunderstorm Warnings nationwide.

Join us in contributing to community safety and accurate weather observations. SVARA’s SKYWARN® Nets: Where Precision Meets Passion!