Establish, in advance, a network of trained weather spotters that can respond (or report) during times of severe weather, to provide real time ground observations to Kewanee, IL Emergency Managers and personnel who can use that information to save lives.
Training is held annually in early March. This training is free and is open to anyone who has an interest in severe weather and its effects. You do not have to volunteer or sign up for ESDA to attend. Please contact the ESDA Coordinator, Keith Edwards at 309.852.2611 ext 267 to learn more about training dates and times.
Only those receiving spotter training by the National Weather Service will be allowed to participate in this volunteer program. In order to participate volunteers must have received their training prior to the start of the current severe storm season, or the year prior.
In order to volunteer to participate in this program, all potential spotters must complete a Volunteer Application (available from the ESDA Coordinator). The ESDA Coordinator will keep a roster of authorized and active volunteer spotters (including all conceivable contact methods, including home phone, work phone, cell phone, HAM call sign, etc...). Authorization will be based on their successful completion of training and the approval of the ESDA Coordinator, Fire and Police Chiefs of the City of Kewanee.
I'm not a HAM Radio Operator, can I still be a storm spotter?
YES. Many of our spotters are not HAM Radio Operators. Many spotters use cellular phones, home phones or sign out one of our City Band ESDA radios for communication. We also team spotters together so that we might have a non-HAM spotter paired with a HAM Operator who already has communication equipment in their vehicle.
I don't have radio equipment, how do I report?
As mentioned previously, many spotters will use cellular phones or home phones to report. We also have some "loaner" radios on the City ESDA frequency that we can sign out if needed.
I'd like to be a spotter but don't feel comfortable driving in stormy weather alone. Do you assign teams?
We never send new spotters out alone and preferably send experienced spotters out with a team mate for safety.
Where do I storm spot from?
Some spotters simply spot from their own homes depending on location and view of the horizon etc. Mobile spotters have pre-determined locations to spot from.
How do you keep track of spotters in the field?
We have pre-determined locations that spotters park at to storm spot. The Communications Chief on duty will check the status of each spotter periodically and if there is no answer from the spotter then which ever spotter team is the next closest will drive to the non-responding spotter to check in.
I want to be a spotter but have not attended the National Weather Service training, can I still be a spotter.
No. Every spotter must attend the National Weather Service training at least once every two years. The training is always free and is usually held in March. Contact the ESDA Coordinator at 309-852-2611 ext 267 for additional information on training.