Click for UTC Time
National WX Service

Lake Charles (LCH)
Shreveport (SHV)

National Hurricane Ctr
National Weather
Service Watches
and Warnings


Click for Local Time
US Nexrad@15 Min
US Real-Time
Sun and Moon Info
RealTime WX KATC

RealTime WX National

US Skew-T
US National Fcast Map
US Curr Condition Map
US Front/Precip Maps
Tornado Project
Model / Forecast Maps
LFT Weather CAM
World Sea Temps
Plymouth State

Convective - Tops
Direction and Speed
Fire Forecast
US Radar
Region Radar
LCH Radar
Pick Radar
[password required]
LA River Stages
OffShore Weather
Boat U.S.
Hurricane Weather
Sams's Hurricane
& Marine WX

WX Underground
Tropical Weather - de
U.S. Navy
Weather Underground
The Storm Track
>ACUS Day 1 ACUS Day 2 ACUS Day 3 ACUS Days 4-8 >Enhanced T-Storm
Day 1 Convective Outlook Day 2 Convective Outlook Day 3 Convective Outlook Day 4-8 Convective Outlook Enhanced T-Storm Outlook
x Click for Lafayette, LA Forecast

Click here for Current Public Information on Tropical Weather

What is SKYWARN?

In the first half of 2001 Lafayette SkyWarn began a major change. The change allows anyone to help their community without leaving their home. As is common in a lot of the country, SkyWarn had been an Ham Radio only group. The members used Amateur Radio to communicate. The Lafayette SkyWarn Group decided to change its structure to allow anyone to fully participate in the program. Under the new program, anyone with a telephone can participate. And, it's fully flexible. You can use your home phone, your cell phone, or your radio phone to communicate with the SkyWarn group.

The local SKYWARN group is sponsored by the Lafayette City-Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (LFT OHS&EP). Nationwide, SKYWARN is a plan sponsored by the National Weather Service (NWS), using volunteer weather observers trained by NWS for reporting destructive thunderstorms or other severe, unusual, or hazardous weather conditions.

As mentioned above, SkyWarn members are frequently Ham Radio operators. If you are a Ham (or want to become a Ham), the 537 System is available. It is a unique repeater in this area that can provide communications for SkyWarn. But, with the new Lafayette SkyWarn design, you don't need to be a HAM. All you need is a telephone.

Additional SkyWarn information includes a peek at new ideas and the home page from a major metro SkyWarn group.

Have you seen the movie 'Twister'? Do you want to be a storm chaser? That's NOT what SkyWarn is about. But you can read about the considerations necessary to leave your home during severe weather by clicking here.

The SkyWarn National Homepage page contains references to everything SkyWarn. But, the Tornado Project Online has some of the best tornado pictures.

Training Materials

SkyWarn spotters take part in training classes to learn about severe weather. The latest and greatest is the FEMA Course IS-271. Not only will you learn about Anticipating Hazardous Weather and Community Risk, but you will be able to take a short test and receive a Certificate of Achivement from FEMA.

The link to the Spotters Guide in this section does not take the place of training, but it gives you an overview of what spotters learn. The links are a courtesy of the National Weather Service in Norman, OK. Click to see the Spotters Field Guide. The Advanced Severe Storm Spotters Guide is also available.

Do you have a weather radio? Here is access to technical information and an interactive map of NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter Sites and Frequencies. It includes Louisiana and surrounding transmitters.

NEXRAD is a monumental improvement over the previous generation of weather radars. You need to know how to read the NEXRAD images to make full use of the information. Here is a Radar Tutorial so you can get the most from NEXRAD images.

Maybe you are just starting out and would like a Basic Weather Tutorial from the Navy. How about a USA Today article on Storm Systems and Fronts. Or, maybe you need a cloud tutorial. We also have a conversion guide for temperature and pressure units, also included is a standard altitude - temperature - pressure table. You need to know more about Lightning? We have Frequently Asked Questions about Lightning.

Everyone needs to play it safe! Hey, you are dealing with Mother Nature, and she is capable of hurting you. Please review Project Safeside to keep you ahead of the storm.

And for those who like to do it by the book, you can access the Federal Meteorological Handbook #1 to see the nitty-gritty details of weather (U.S. Government style).

Do you need a copy of the Lafayette SkyWarn Manual? NOTICE: THIS MANUAL HAS NOT BEEN UPDATE TO THE NEW OPERATION !! If you click on the link you can access our manual in PDF format. It is large (about 3 to 4 MB) and will take a while to download the 105 pages of information.

General Information

SKYWARN is a nationwide network of volunteer severe weather observers. The program is an effort to save lives and property during severe weather emergencies. All you need to do to become a member of the SKYWARN volunteer network is an interest in watching the sky and a dedication to helping save lives.

The National Weather Service has offices at many locations around the country. The NWS office that serves Lafayette Parish is near Lake Charles Louisiana. The doppler radar, called NEXRAD (NEXt generation RADar) is located in Calcasieu Parish. NEXRAD was designed to improve detection of severe storms so that the NWS can provide more accurate and timely warnings to the public.

SKYWARN is an integral part of this detection and warning process. NEXRAD will help locate and track potentially severe and dangerous storms, but it is SKYWARN spotters that report what the storm is actually doing (trees blown down, a tornado on the ground, flood waters washing out a bridge, a dangerous glaze of ice on roads and wires). SKYWARN spotters are trained to spot tornadoes, funnel clouds, and severe thunderstorms. They are told how to report hail, strong winds, heavy rain, floods, and snow. Forecasters combine information from spotters with that of radar, satellite and other tools. This information is then used to provide appropriate warnings for communities downstream from the storm and to keep people informed about what is happening and what steps they may need to take to protect themselves.

Reporting Procedures for NWS Trained Members of SkyWarn

  1. Call the National Weather Service office
    • tollfree at (800) 721-5739
    • collect at (337) 477-3422
    Note that these numbers may only be called collect to report severe weather conditions and called normally for other business.
  2. Identify yourself
    • Use your callsign and 'with Lafayette SkyWarn'. Your callsign will be checked to see if you are an authorized spotter.
  3. Location of the event
    • The Parish
    • Your position relative to a known town/landmark ("7 miles west of Rayne")
    • If the event is not occuring where you are, your position relative to the event/storm ("looking 3 miles north of my location")
  4. Reporting Criteria (most important at the top)
    • Tornado or Waterspout
    • Funnel cloud
    • Rotating wall cloud
    • Hail of any size. Measure size if possible, report largest size, most common size, and depth of coverage.
    • Damage, injuries, or loss of life and/or property caused by floods, wind, hail, and tornadoes.
    • Wind gusts of greater than or equal to 55MPH. (If tree damage, determine the diameter of the limbs. Live tree limbs 1-2 inches in diameter many times indicates that winds in excess of 55 MPH have occurred.)
    • Rainfall of greater than 1/2 inch per hour.
  5. Time
    • Time of the event/storm
    • Duration of the event
    • If the event is still in progress.

SkyWarn Works With ARES and RACES

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), a public service organization of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty when disaster strikes or for public events. Additional information on Emergency Communications is contained in:

Other Emergency Services Information


Lafayette SKYWARN will be activated for:

  1. Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches
  2. Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings
  3. Flood Warning (if not already activated for the Flood Watch)
  4. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings
  5. Hurricane Watches and Warnings

Highest Priority/Life Threatening Criteria.

Please report without delay the National Weather Service ...

Other High Priority/Life Threatening Criteria.

Please report as soon as possible to the National Weather Service ...
  1. Flooding of rivers or streams into homes or industries. Also report flooding which make roadways totally impassable.
  2. Any thunderstorm winds which produce structural damage to houses, power lines or entire trees.
  3. Rises of streams or rivers to bankfull conditions.
  4. Any KNOWN storm surge inundations of coastal areas. Never go to the shore to investigate it yourself and EVACUATE immediately if told to do so by Emergency Management Personnel.
  5. The highest wind gust during the tropical storm/hurricane.
  6. The lowest barometric pressure and time it occurred during a tropical storm/hurricane.
  7. Total event rainfall amount during a tropical storm/hurricane.
  8. Known deaths or injuries due to lightning during a tropical storm/hurricane.

Please include the following items in all your SKYWARN reports:

  1. You are a Lafayette SkyWarn Member and your name.
  2. Where you observed it. (Town and Parish names please!)
  3. When you observed it.
  4. What you have observed.

NEVER place yourself in any danger when reporting Severe Weather!
We need you, and thank you for your help!

Page Number 080620
This website designed and maintained by SkyWarn Member - Steve Mahler, KF5VH.
To mail a letter to Steve please click the address...
The says you are visitor number

x x