SKYWARN is a voluntary program developed by each National Weather Service (NWS) office where volunteers are specially trained as severe storm spotters to assist the NWS and local emergency management programs.

Sogn Valley SKYWARN, Inc. officially started operations during the spring of 2017. Our primary focus initially was on western Goodhue County comprising eight townships including the cities of Cannon Falls, Dennison, Kenyon and Wanamingo. However, ultimately we now assist with the severe weather warning efforts throughout Goodhue County and even eastern Rice County.

Sogn Valley SKYWARN, Inc. is incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota and is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our charter currently has the following people serving as our corporate board of directors:

  • James Braaten, chairman
  • Todd Cordes, vice-chairman
  • Lorin Pohlman, secretary
  • Dave Kolsrud, treasurer
  • Art Rew, director

As a group, SVS currently has 74 trained and active spotters who perform their weather observation duties from both the home and the workplace. When the NWS requests a call-out, we activate a system where all spotters are immediately alerted via their cell phones to the possibility of severe weather. The spotters are trained on how to make accurate field reports and then subsequently pass that information to authorities.

NWS Twin Cities needs real time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain, and tornado development in order to effectively warn the public. Even as new technology allows NWS Twin Cities to issue warnings with more lead time, spotters will ALWAYS be needed as a link between radar indications of severe weather and ground truth information!