The WX5FWD SKYWARN™ team are volunteer radio operator liaisons for the Fort Worth National Weather Service (NWS) North Texas SKYWARN™ Spotters. During SKYWARN events, you are reporting information to our team and the NWS warning forecasters. Three goals of a storm spotter are to safely observe, identify and report conditions.

Weather spotters provide what's called "ground truth" to the National Weather Service and emergency weather management. Spotters are needed because, while radar is very good at helping the National Weather Service see what's going on in the upper atmosphere, it's unable to detect what's actually happening on the ground because of the curvature of the Earth. Knowing the "ground truth" about a weather event from the location can be the deciding factor to issue a warning.

Feb. 9, 1870: Feds Get on Top of the Weather

Feb. 9, 1870: Feds Get on Top of the Weather

1870: President Ulysses S. Grant signs a bill creating what we now call the National Weather Service. Forecasting models were simple but generally effective.

It had been obvious for centuries that weather in North America generally moves from west to east, or southwest to northeast. But other than looking upwind, that knowledge was little help in predicting the weather until you could move weather reports downwind faster than the weather itself was moving.

The telegraph finally made that possible. The Smithsonian Institution in 1849 began supplying weather instruments to telegraph companies. Volunteer observers submitted observations to the Smithsonian, which tracked the movement of storms across the country. Several states soon established their own weather services to gather data.

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Lightning Reveals Its Power in Slow Motion

Tom Warner documents the powerful beauty of lightning with an array of optical and electromagnetic sensors. He often uses a Vision Research ‘Phantom’ high-speed camera.

Warner is a Ph.D student at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, in Rapid City. He studies atmospheric sciences with a specialty in lightning research. “Lightning is one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena,” says Warner. “I want to understand how lightning behaves.”

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Weather Information

Field Day 2009

Bobette has published some photos from Field Day at the Fort Worth NWS office.

SKYWARN reporting with Radio over Internet Protocol (RoIP) Links

The Ft. Worth NWS SKYWARN Team operate multiple amateur radio systems, including RoIP systems such as EchoLink and IRLP. Our RoIP systems are normally dedicated to direct connections with remote SKYWARN spotter radio stations in affected areas during weather events. We may limit incoming connections by use of an “allow list” of authorized stations. This helps us manage connections and limited network bandwidth during weather events.

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