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SKYWARN Information


 Index - Topics on this page

* What is SKYWARN?
* How to become a SKYWARN Spotter
* SKYWARN Activation
* Morris County Reporting Procedures
* Morris SKYWARN Coordinators
* References for Spotters
* Current Forecast for Morris County
* Links to SKYWARN and Weather Sites


What is SKYWARN?

SKYWARN, a program of the National Weather Service (NWS), is a network of volunteer weather spotters with training in how to spot and report severe weather conditions.

SKYWARN spotters fill an important void for the NWS. Despite all its tools -- radar, remote weather reporting stations, storm history -- the NWS can't actually "see" tornados, wind damage, hail, road flooding, snow, or icy roads. It may know that such developments are likely to occur, but it can't be certain if they really are occurring or where they are occurring. Skywarn spotters provide "ground truth".

Although non-hams can also be SKYWARN spotters, hams have some special advantages in weather reporting. Hams aren't tied to telephone systems that may fail. Also, many hams have radios in their cars, so they can report developments instantly as they travel through different areas. And by radio nets, the net coordinator can consolidate spotter reports to give a single, concise report to a very busy NWS office in Mt. Holly

For more information see

How to Become a Spotter

You must be at least 16 years old, be able to observe weather (though no weather instruments are required), and have access to a telephone or ham radio to make reports. 

You must take a SKYWARN Spotter class, which is a 3 hour seminar that teaches you the basics of how SKYWARN operates, how to spot severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, what to report, how to report, and when. There is no cost for the class. Currently scheduled classes are posted on the NWS Mt. Holly Skywarn web page or may be listed under Skywarn News on this site. Shortly after completing the class you will be mailed a SKYWARN certificate with your personal SKYWARN ID number that you will use when reporting weather conditions.

Skywarn Activation

Usually, severe weather "warnings" automatically activate SKYWARN. The NWS will broadcast severe weather warnings on the NOAA weather radio frequencies. In Morris County, these are 162.550 MHz ( NYC) which is best heard in the eastern half of the county and 162.400 MHz ( Allentown, PA) which might be better heard in the western half.

To learn about severe weather warnings, consider purchasing a Weather Radio (commonly available at Radio Shack and other electronic stores). Weather Radios will sound an alarm when they detect specially encoded severe weather alert tones in the NOAA broadcast. New radios respond to the Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) digital codes and older radios respond to a 1050 Hz alerting tone. The Morris County SAME code is 034027.  If you live near a county line, you may want to put in additional county codes, as listed in the NOAA table of regional FIPS state and county codes.

Morris County SKYWARN Reporting Procedures

After the NWS issues a severe weather "warning" or otherwise activates SKYWARN, the Morris County SKYWARN coordinator, or a substitute, acting as net control, will start to call SKYWARN reporting nets periodically on WS2Q/R, 145.37 (-.600, PL 151.4), not on the 146.895 WS2Q repeater.

Morris County SKYWARN Coordinator: 

 Kathy Thee KT2F   kt2f at

During a SKYWARN net, the net control will ask for reports of ground conditions around the county. Please make your reports as short and as relevant as possible, responding to the net control's specific requests. Do not give unnecessary or gratuitous information. Note that in some cases, a negative report, e.g. "no snow accumulations", may be as important as a positive report.

Following the net, the net control will telephone the NWS Office in Mt. Holly to make a consolidated report to the NWS staff. (APRS is a secondary reporting system, but for now, the NWS prefers telephone reports.)

The net control will announce the discontinuance of the nets when the NWS cancels the severe weather warning or otherwise announces the end of the SKYWARN activation. The repeater will then be returned to normal repeater operations as indicated by the absence of the frequent WX code signals and a return to the normal courtesy tone of a single "dit" .


bullet Subscription service for real time e-mail NWS Weather Statements for Morris County only
bulletSubscription service for real time e-mail NWS Weather Statements for the region (entire coverage area of Mt. Holly Nat'l Weather Service office)
bulletThe Mt. Holly area NJ-PA-MD-DE-SKYWARN net -- held every Thursday @ 9PM local time. The net presents information and discussion for all SKYWARN Coordinators & spotters on pertinent issues including training programs, weather information and APRS. All are invited to check-in. The net operates on the WA3BXW ~ BEARS repeater system and the Complex Repeater Group in PA, NJ, & MD.

From Morris County, the best frequencies to get in are likely to be: 

North and Central NJ....... 444.500 (+5 MHz, PL 131.8) 
                                 ....... 445.725 (- 5 MHz, PL 141.3)
NW NJ.............................. 442.950 (+5 MHz, PL 131.8)

References for Spotters

bullet What to Report - Mt. Holly NWS Web Site
bulletNJ SKYWARN Net Frequencies

Current Weather Forecast

bulletWeather Channel Forecast 
bulletOfficial NWS Forecasts and Special Statements for NJ 
bulletNew Jersey State Weather  Information from IWIN (NOAA)
bullet AccuWeather® for Morristown - including radar of the region
bullet NWS Radar Map of NJ
bulletMap of US showing States with Wx Warnings/Statements

Links to other SKYWARN and Weather Sites

bullet EMWIN - Emergency Managers Weather Information Network
bulletNational Weather Service - Mt Holly NJ
bullet National Skywarn Page - "Unofficial" site
bullet Weather calculator -  for example, get wind chill from temp & wind speed
bullet Weather Safety Tips and Online Brochures
bulletNOAA National Weather Radio
bullet River and Stream Flow Conditions Currently - New Jersey 
bulletNational Hurricane Center
bulletHurricane Watch Net  - a ham organization supporting Natl. Hurricane Ctr.
bulletHurricane Frequencies - disaster and weather net frequencies
bulletSAME County Code Lookup

Hurricane Health & Safety Tips

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Last Updated: 12/17/2013