Skywarn Website

Skywarn Intro (PDF)

Dickey County is now a member of a two state SKYWARN project. SKYWARN is a nationwide project of NOAA Weather Service and area ham radio groups to track and study tornados and severe lightening storms. Area Ham Radio operators, Brown County Emergency Management, NOAA National Weather Service (Aberdeen) and Brown County 9-1-1 Dispatch Center and are now radio linked with us.(during severe weather). This communications breakthrough now provides provide REAL TIME weather observations as the storms are chased through our areas. (Regardless of state)

This "as-it-happens" weather spotting coordination allows the above groups, as well as law enforcement and our highway department, to know exactly where a tornado touches down and dispatch emergency responders to the scene before the tail lifts from the ground. This will significantly shorten the response times of our responders to the scene.

Information from the weather spotters (operating on ham radio frequencies) is now relayed to responders over our county repeaters or to North Dakota State Radio on the state channels.

This system is activated when storm cells capable of creating tornados are in our area. You can listen to the storm chasers on your scanner on 146.330 or on the county repeater system on 155.850. This is a great way to know exactly what is being reported from the field during major storm events.

The Federal Communications Commission has dropped the Morse code requirement for ham (technician) license, so getting a radio license to operate on this system is easier than ever. Classes are held in Aberdeen quarterly or can be done locally if you want to become part of this program. For further information on SKYWARN or if you are interested in getting your license, contact Charlie Russell (information below).


The NOAA National Weather Service (Bismarck) alerts our county when any potentially dangerous storm enters an adjacent county heading our way. This gives us approximately a one hour "heads-up" to activate our storm chasing system.

This warning reaches ALL of our responders with one call as well as warning facilities such as rest homes and schools. This system may be monitored on your scanner on 158.955.


The above mentioned system is also used to activate our emergency siren warning system. Ellendale and Oakes sirens are activated by remote radio with Forbes and Fullerton sirens soon to have the same capability.

Sirens will blow a steady wail when a tornado is in the area or on the first Friday of the month for maintenance and system testing.


The best information on weather long range forecasts and local area warning information is found on your weather radio. Residents in Dickey County are encouraged to tune their radios to South Dakota's (Aberdeen) weather channel for alerts. They are significantly closer to us and agreements are in place with NOAA National Weather Service (Bismarck) for Aberdeen to broadcast dangerous alerts affecting our county. They are found on 162.400


All of the high-tech warning systems, radio communications systems in the world, cannot replace your vigilance and awareness of the world around you. Rural lifestyles require a higher level knowledge of the survival skills (first aid, weather knowledge, outside cooking, firefighting and rescue ETC) as well as a higher level common preparedness. This mindset is the BEST way to protect your family as well as yourself.

Take advantage of variety of training offered all over Dickey County,which is FREE in most cases. You can make big difference in your personal and community's preparedness with just a little effort and time.

The United States Government, Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, etc., all have one message in common, BE PREPARED. Your safety is Your Responsibility during an overwhelming incident such as a major disaster. They all recommend you learn and maintain the critical skills and stock your house and cars with the basic supplies needed to survive for 72 hours after any incident.

The 72 hours timeframe is identified as the average time (in a city) it will take to get help (food water, power, ambulance service etc.) to most everyone during cataclysmic events. Dickey County, due to its limited number of volunteer responders, the number of rural isolated farmsteads, and basic infrastructure (number of stores, gas stations, type of roads etc,) may take some longer. (Remember KATRINA).

For more information, contact Charlie Russell (701) 320-6299 or

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