MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J.
- The SKYWARN Team in Mercer County will be participating in the 2011 SKYWARN Recognition Day on December 3, 2011. During the day SKYWARN team members from across the country will visit National Weather Service offices and contact other team members by amateur radio across the country and around the world.

Skywarn is a nationwide program run by the National Weather Service for the past 35 years in which trained residents gather real-time, “ground truth” information about severe weather, which can be anything from a tornado to a flood or winter snowstorm.

Skywarn spotters stay close to home and are not “storm chasers,” an activity which is dangerous and not condoned by the National Weather Service. Spotters typically relay reports to the weather service about the severity and type of storm or weather event, indications of more dangerous conditions ahead, and verification of forecasted weather, among other responsibilities.

According to Mercer County’s emergency management and the National Weather Service, these types of localized, up-to-date reports by residents can save lives and mitigate property damage because they can lead to new weather warnings, cancellation of unnecessary warnings, or detection of an impending event.

“With Skywarn, our residents become our eyes and ears on the ground and can help us determine the safest course of action during severe weather,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “I encourage anyone who is interested to find out more about the Skywarn program.”

The Mercer County SKYWARN team presently consists of more than 80 trained weather spotters, many of whom are amateur radio operators (hams), who cover the 13 municipalities that make up Mercer County. These dedicated spotters observe and report severe weather conditions to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Mount Holly, NJ by telephone or amateur radio. Spotters participate in periodic ongoing training and in regular ham radio exercises. Initial Skywarn training is held every year in different counties around the state.

The Mercer County Coordinator for SKYWARN is John Pugh. For further information, John Pugh can be reached at email MercerSkywarn@gmail.com or by phone at 609-439-3076. More information can be obtained at the Mercer County SKYWARN website at http://www.freewebs.com/mercerskywarn.