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ARRL, National Weather Service Update Memorandum of Understanding

06/21/2011

The National Weather Service (NWS) has updated its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ARRL (scroll below to access a link to the document). The updated MoU serves “as a framework within which volunteers of the ARRL may coordinate their services, facilities and equipment with the NWS in support of nationwide, state and local early weather warning and emergency communications function.” In May, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, signed on behalf of the ARRL, and in June, NWS Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services’ Director Dave Caldwell signed on behalf of the NWS. The ARRL and the NWS have had a formal working arrangement since 1986.

The NWS, in the MoU, acknowledges that Amateur Radio operators can be of valuable assistance in early severe weather warning and tornado spotting. Through its SKYWARN program, the NWS recognizes that Amateur Radio operators have assisted as communicators and weather spotters since the program began in the late 1960s. “In areas where tornadoes and other severe weather have been known to threaten, the NWS recruits volunteers and trains them in proper weather spotting procedures,” the MoU states. “These dedicated citizens help keep their local community safe by conveying severe weather reports to their local NWS forecast office. SKYWARN spotters are integral to the success of our nation’s severe weather warning system.”

“All the National Weather Service personnel I’ve met throughout the country have told me how much they respect and depend on the Amateur Radio SKYWARN volunteers in their forecast areas,” Craigie said. “This year’s weather disasters underscore the importance of amateurs becoming trained severe weather spotters and participating in SKYWARN. It’s a pleasure for me to work with the National Weather Service, both as an ARRL official and as a local SKYWARN volunteer.”

Through the MoU, the ARRL will encourage its Field Organization, including ARES®, to “contact and cooperate with National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologists for the purpose of establishing organized SKYWARN networks with radio amateurs serving as communicators and spotters.” The ARRL will also encourage its Section management teams “to provide specialized communications and observation support on an as-needed basis for NWS offices in other weather emergencies, such as hurricanes, snow and heavy rain storms, and other severe weather situations.” In turn, the NWS will work with ARRL Section ARES® volunteers to establish SKYWARN networks, and/or other weather emergency and alert systems.

“The relationship between the National Weather Service and the ARRL has been a model partnership for many years,” said ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC. “The renewal of this MoU emphasizes the value of Amateur Radio to the NWS mission.”



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