The Central Indiana SKYWARN Severe Weather Network is activated solely at the request of the Indianapolis NWS Office. Their request for spotter activation is based on information gathered from the Storm Prediction Center as well as local input from the Indianapolis NWS staff. The near real time information spotters provide is an essential piece of the total flow of information the NWS uses to determine whether a severe weather warning is issued. It is vital that the SKYWARN program strive to continuously improve the delivery of information to the NWS. This increase in lead-time will give the general public an opportunity to prepare themselves for the threat of severe weather.
Not every severe weather watch issuance requires network activation. However the Central Indiana SKYWARN Association is alerted to the severe weather potential and the appropriate measures are put into motion to ensure an immediate response if conditions warrant.
Each county in Central Indiana has the authority, and is encouraged, to activate their local county net prior to any request from the NWS. This proactive approach has proven extremely successful in positioning the appropriate resources in preparation of severe weather. It has been proven that developing a severe weather pre-plan can provide that extra few seconds that can make a difference. If there is an active pre-plan in place with adequate support training then it takes less time to manage those resources and therefore the information those spotters develop is available without delay.
In addition, each time a spotter turns in a report this information is not only recorded as a Local Storm Report, to aid in the warning verification process, it is also valuable to researchers. These climatologists, who study the atmosphere and develop tools to predict severe weather, take your reports and apply them to the study of storm structure and development. It is essential that no matter how insignificant the report may seem, when taken as a whole, it could be an important piece of a puzzle researchers need to describe the atmosphere.