SKYWARN™ Recognition Day on the first Saturday in December, on December 4 this year, honors the services of all those amateur radio operators who work around the clock to submit information about any severe weather patterns, including tornados, storms, or strong winds. Such weather conditions could cause severe damage to people’s lives and properties. A prior warning by a SKYWARN™ volunteer helps lessen any casualties. The volunteers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. They are specially trained by the National Weather Service (N.W.S.) to be able to accurately report on weather conditions. So, if your day’s plans are dependent on the weather outside, tune in to the radio to learn more about the weather patterns being reported by SKYWARN™ volunteers.
History of SKYWARN™ Recognition Day
The first SKYWARN™ Recognition Day was observed in 1999. It was created by the N.W.S. and the American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.). The two organizations decided that the day would be commemorated on the first Saturday of every December. N.W.S. is an American governmental agency whose focus is to report on usual and unusual weather conditions. They issue warnings and emergencies if the weather is expected to take a turn for the worst. N.W.S., which is headquartered in Maryland, Washington, believes it is their responsibility to protect people from harm caused by adverse weather. The agency collects its information through more than 120 offices all over the country.
The American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.) is another organization that helps N.W.S. receive and report accurate weather conditions. Formed in 1914, it is the largest non-profit organization for amateur radio enthusiasts. The co-founders, Hiram Maxim and Clarence Tuska, were both associated with the radio agency. Their interest in the field saw them coming together to create A.R.R.L. in order to give a chance to those who were not from the field but still wanted to contribute to it. The organization provides technical training, education, sponsorships, and assistance to its members, many of whom have gone on to volunteer as SKYWARN™ reporters for N.W.S. An A.R.R.L. membership is not limited to America as more than 7,000 members of the total 161,000 members belong to other countries. The organization holds several conventions and publishes a special journal called “QST”. Every year, about 290,000 report on any weather irregularities. Such reports have worked to lessen the overall damage, allowing people and organizations to save money as well.
SKYWARN™ Recognition Day timeline
The United States Weather Bureau is established — known as the National Weather Service today — to provide weather forecasts.
Hiram Maxim and Clarence Tuska, two amateur radio enthusiasts, commemorate the American Radio Relay League.
The A.R.R.L. releases the first “The Radio Amateur's Handbook”, which is still in circulation today.
N.W.S. and A.R.R.L. start SKYWARN™ Recognition Day to recognize the efforts of SKYWARN™ volunteers.
SKYWARN™ Recognition Day FAQs
What is SKYWARN™ Recognition Day?
SKYWARN™ Recognition Day is a day created by N.S.W. and A.R.R.L. to recognize the efforts and contributions of all SKYWARN™ volunteers who report on severe weather conditions.
What is SKYWARN™ in ham radio?
Before a heavy storm hits, the local amateur radio reporters are noting the patterns and reporting them to the N.S.W. Their ham radio reports serve as the first line of defense against such weather patterns.
How do I get my SKYWARN™ spotter number?
You can find the spotter number by contacting your local Warning Coordination Meteorologist. Said person can help you find the spotter information you are looking for. They can also inform you about any SKYWARN™ classes taking place.
How to Observe SKYWARN™ Recognition Day
Become a SKYWARN™ volunteer
Becoming a SKYWARN™ volunteer would allow you to celebrate the day in the best possible way. Every year, N.W.S. sends out calls for volunteers to receive training and special education programs so that when the time comes, you are ready to serve the nation.
Appreciate SKYWARN™ volunteers
It’s okay if you are not able to volunteer your time for weather forecasting. You can still celebrate the day by showing your appreciation for SKYWARN™ volunteers. Give them a word of thanks and complement it with a donut or coffee/tea.
Learn about weather forecasting history
Weather forecasting has come a long way in terms of how it is reported to the way technology is used to accurately predict it. Look up the ways weather forecasters have given their reports throughout history from different regions of the world.
5 Facts About Weather Forecasting That Will Blow Your Mind
Pinecone for wet weather
If you are not sure if it will rain or not, you can observe a pinecone’s scales as they will most likely close up if wet weather is on the way.
Short-term forecasts are more accurate
Weather can be extremely unpredictable, which is why a daily weather forecast will be more accurate, as opposed to the forecast that tells the conditions for the coming months.
The wrong information is called a ‘bust’
If a weather forecaster’s report turns out wrong, the people in the industry call it a ‘bust’.
Models are not accurate
Weather models created using computer algorithms can be wrong as they are simply a prediction of what could happen.
The media’s negative impact
The rat race for getting the highest television rating points or clicks has led to many weather agencies “wrongly” predicting weather conditions as the “bigger” and “badder” the weather, the more people will engage with it.
Why SKYWARN™ Recognition Day is Important
It celebrates SKYWARN™ volunteers
SKYWARN™ volunteers are working towards their passion related to the radio field, but at the same time, they are also volunteering their time to save lives and property. Being a volunteer means giving back to the community without any selfish motives, and such motivations should be recognized and appreciated.
The importance of community services is highlighted
Community services have allowed nations to save millions on the economic front. People working for the benefit of others are also securing their future, as well as that of future generations. Community services, overall, benefit societies greatly.
It’s a celebration of unity
People sticking together and giving each other a helping hand is what helps us to achieve our goals faster. Unity is a sign of empathy and strength, and just like community services, unity is a core ingredient for a happy society.
SKYWARN™ Recognition Day dates