The SKYWARN program is the eyes and ears for the National Weather Service in the field. Volunteer spotters are activated whenever dangerous severe weather threatens. They report back to the weather service via amateur radio nets.
The spotters give invaluable reports about potentially severe weather including tornadoes, funnel clouds, wind damage, hail, and flooding.
The organization of spotters, and the distribution of warnings, is handled locally by the National Weather Service Office in Binghamton. In Chenango County, Skywarn spotters are members of the Chenango Valley Amateur Radio Association (CVARA). These invaluable volunteers use amateur (ham) radio to report severe weather to the National Weather Service.
The primary objective of the Skywarn program is to identify hazardous weather early enough to warn the public. Thus, the NWS is particularly interested in tracking severe thunderstorms which pass through our warning area.