December 1, 2012 - Skywarn Recognition Day

There's a tornado forming near Agra, Kansas!”

I'm experiencing high winds in the Tejon Pass, on the Grapevine, here in California!”

It's been snowing steadily all day here in Dillon, Montana, but now it's hailing. Big time!”

These are the sort of radio reports that volunteers often send to the National Weather Service. With volunteer weather spotters equipped with ham radios and living all over the U.S., the NWS can establish and verify weather warnings. And weather warnings help all of us.

It's not just hurricane and tornado warnings. There are flash flood warnings, high winds warnings, snowfall and hailstorm warnings. I've even heard warnings that lightning is expected with a particular storm.

This is a day that celebrates contributions to public safety made by all the volunteer weather spotters.

Does it have to be ham radio?

I would think that nowadays Twitter and Facebook would be a valuable source of extreme weather information. It turns out that about 30 thousand people follow NWS on Twitter to get weather info and warnings, and we the public can use Twitter, Facebook, computers, ham radio, and telephones to report local weather conditions to the NWS, too. For example, here is the NWS page for Gaylord, MI, telling how to make a report in these various ways. 

Also on this date:

Pay It Forward Day 

Portugal'sRestoration of Independence Day 

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