Steele County SKYWARN
Instant Alert Log-In
SKYWARN is a concept developed in the early 1970s intended to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service (NWS) and communities. The National Weather Service uses a tremendous amount of technology (e.g., radar, satellite, etc.) to monitor changing weather conditions. All of this technology, however, does have its limitations. For example, the NWS radar tower at Chanhassen cannot see anything occurring in Steele County below 5,000 feet. Because of this limitation, the NWS must rely on first-hand accounts of weather conditions. SKYWARN provides additional eyes to the NWS.
Steele County SKYWARN is not a club, but an organization of enthusiasts with interests in the areas of severe weather spotting. SKYWARN has long been associated with amateur radio, but participation in SKYWARN does not require an amateur radio license. SKYWARN spotters can communicate by radio, telephone, and internet. Amateur radio, however, is an efficient method of communication and is the primary method of communicating with surrounding counties and the NWS.
Spotters are trained to safely report weather conditions (wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado). Operating from the Owatonna Fire Department, Steele County SKYWARN is the central point for the receipt and distribution of information. Information is exchanged with the NWS, 911 Dispatch Center, local media outlets, surrounding SKYWARN organizations, and other emergency management agencies.
SKYWARN spotters are not "storm chasers". Storm spotting is dangerous and should not be done without proper training, experience and equipment.
In Steele County, SKYWARN is a part of Steele County Emergency Management. Steele County SKYWARN meetings begin at 7:00 PM on the third Tuesday of each month. Meetings take place at the Owatonna Fire Station, 107 W. Main Street. Anyone with an interest in weather and storm spotting is invited. Check the Calendar page for updated information.
Steele County SKYWARN activates a net using Amateur Radio:
For information on Amateur Radio, visit the Owatonna - Steele County Amateur Radio web site.