Matt Healy and Ken Grimm talk about the upcoming SKYWARN Storm Spotting training and the role of amateur radio in helping the National Weather Service with “ground truth” from the Concho Valley and Big Country areas.

SKYWARN Storm spotting in the Concho Valley

SKYWARN® is a National Weather Service (NWS) program consists of trained weather spotters who provide reports of severe and hazardous weather to help meteorologists make life-saving warning decisions. Spotters are concerned citizens, amateur radio operators, truck drivers, airplane pilots, emergency management personnel, and public safety officials who volunteer their time and energy to report on hazardous weather impacting their community.

Although, NWS has access to data from Doppler radar, satellite, and surface weather stations, technology cannot detect every instance of hazardous weather. Spotters help fill in the gaps by reporting hail, wind damage, flooding, heavy snow, tornadoes and waterspouts. Radar is an excellent tool, but it is just that: one tool among many that NWS uses. We need spotters to report how storms and other weather phenomena are impacting the area.

SKYWARN® spotter reports provide vital “ground truth” to the NWS. They act as our eyes and ears in the field. Spotter reports help our meteorologists issue timely, accurate, and detailed warnings by confirming hazardous weather detected by NWS radar. Spotters also provide critical verification information that helps improve future warning services. SKYWARN® Spotters serve their local communities by acting as a vital source of information when dangerous storms approach. Without spotters, NWS would be less able to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property.
Tom Green County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services)

TGC ARES are amateur radio operators that conduct operations over ham radio from the NSW office in San Angelo to all amateur radio operators in its 24 county coverage area. We have a setup in the NWS office on Knickerbocker Road to operate at the service of the meteorologists on duty. We conduct the special “net” on ARES frequencies, relaying “ground truth” to the office as an event is occurring. The ability for a spotter in the field to give accurate and relevant ground reports immediately to the NWS team is vital to help in making the best possible decisions to protect life and property and keep everyone safe.

We would encourage all amateur radio operators in the area to join in this effort.

For more information:

Matt Healy (W5MAT)
Tom Green County ARES,

Ken Grimm (KG5BPY)
Tom Green County ARES,


SKYWARN Training for Tom Green County
Saturday Apr 14 • 9 a.m. to Noon
Trinity Lutheran Church
3536 Lutheran Way
Storm Spotting for NWS

Tom Green County ARES
Meet quarterly or when situation requires at
5513 Stewart Lane, Mathis Field

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