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The 13th annual SKYWARN TM Recognition Day was held December 2 to December 3, 2011. Over 100 stations participated, including WX4PTC (Peachtree City). This event was co-sponsered by the National Weather Service and the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) and is the Weather Service's way of expressing its appreciation to Amateur Radio operators for their commitment to helping keep communities safe. During this 24-hour special event, teams of radio amateurs set up stations at local NWS offices across the country to contact other hams across the U.S. and around the world. This year, the Amateur Radio operators in Peachtree City talked with folks coast to coast, with Oregon being the furthest contact point in the U.S. To the north, they reached out to Canada and to the east they were able to contact folks all the way in the Canary Islands - that's 4000 miles away!
In typical SKYWARN TM operations during severe weather, direct communication between mobile spotters and local NWS offices provides critical ground truth information for forecasters. Spotter reports of hail size, wind damage and surface-based rotation in real time greatly assist the NWS radar warning operators, since that information can be correlated with Doppler radar displays. The result may be a more strongly worded statement to convey greater urgency or issue a tornado warning a few minutes earlier than would otherwise have been possible.