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.

Joplin Tornado Assessment

Please review the assessment of the 2011 Joplin tornado from the NWS Service Assessments.


On May 22, 2011, one of the deadliest tornadoes in United States history struck Joplin, Missouri, directly killing 158 people and injuring over 1,000. The tornado, rated EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with maximum winds over 200 mph, affected a significant part of a city with a population of more than 50,000 and a population density near 1,500 people per square mile. As a result, the Joplin tornado was the first single tornado in the United States to result in over 100 fatalities since the Flint, Michigan, tornado of June 8, 1953.

Because of the rarity and historical significance of this event, a regional Service Assessment team was formed to examine warning and forecast services provided by the National Weather Service. Furthermore, because of the large number of fatalities that resulted from a warned tornado event, this Service Assessment will provide additional focus on dissemination, preparedness, and warning response within the community as they relate to NWS services.

Service Assessments provide a valuable contribution to ongoing efforts by the National Weather Service to improve the quality, timeliness, and value of our products and services. Findings and recommendations from this assessment will improve techniques, products, services, and information provided to our partners and the American public.

Lynn P. Maximuk
Director, Central Region
National Weather Service
July 2011

Look for WX5FWD on Field Day June 25 – 26, 2011

The Fort Worth NWS SKYWARN Radio Desk team and NWS staff will be active on several bands and modes during Field Day. We hope to talk to many of you, and add your call signs and information to our log. We should be on two stations working separate bands, including VHF 6 meters.

Mammatus Clouds

These shots were taken May 11, 2011. Click on the image to view.

Storms are all in a day's work at Fort Worth's National Weather Service office - by Steve Campbell - Star-Telegram

The Star-Telegram has published an article titled Storms are all in a day's work at Fort Worth's National Weather Service office

FORT WORTH -- Heaven was seemingly raining money, with dozens of reports of "nickels," "dimes," "quarters" and "half dollars" falling from the sky.

The hail scale also tallied numerous reports of golf-ball-size chunks of ice as an "unprecedented" outbreak of severe storms spawned at least nine tornadoes Tuesday night in Texas.

Inside the National Weather Service's Fort Worth office, near Northeast Loop 820 and North Beach Street, it was a "once-in-a-decade event" for a team of meteorologists who tracked the swarm of storms that started just south of Fort Worth and stretched to Waco and into East Texas.

For the complete story, with photos and video, go to

Congressional bill could hamper severe storm spotters

Our local WFAA Channel 8 news station aired a story about HR-607 and its possible impact on SKYWARN operations. The link below includes the story and optional video from the NWS with a couple of our volunteer operators.

While the ARRL and all Amateurs support the work of Public Safety and recognize their need for dedicated spectrum which would promote interoperability, the ARRL vigorously opposes HR 607 in its present form. HR 607 is a direct threat to our limited spectrum and the ARRL encourages all amateurs to appropriately voice their opposition to this bill.

Congressional bill could hamper severe storm spotters

Additional details about HR-607 can be found on the ARRL web site at

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