The Levelland SKYWARN team is a group organized for the purposes of promoting weather safety, severe weather observation, public safety agency assistance, emergency communications and serving the public in times of need.
Levelland SKYWARN is incorporated in the state of Texas as a nonprofit organization and has existed in one form or another since 1994. Our team is comprised of ex-military, active law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. We have been organized in this fashion for a number of years and have assisted in numerous fires, searches, public events, communication outages, weather watch and much more. Our primary focus is on severe weather in and around the Hockley county area. We also go out into the South Plains Region when there are no localized threats. When doing so, we serve the Lubbock office of the National Weather Service.
The mission of Levelland SKYWARN is to assist in providing safety and awareness to the public, public safety agencies and the National Weather Service by providing timely and concise dissemination of real-time weather conditions and observations throughout the South Plains region of Texas. Further, to provide assistance to served agencies and the public as requested in times of disaster or other need.
Our main focus is in supporting the Levelland and Hockley county public safety agencies, Covenant Hospital and the National Weather Service during severe weather potentials. If requested, we serve other agencies and counties as well.
During storm season and whenever the situation may arise, we are on storm watch and report to the NWS and Hockley / Levelland officials. When the opportunity presents, we go outside of outside of Hockley County for a bit of 'chasing'. When doing so, we provide weather observations and reports directly to the NWS office in Lubbock.
We have been authorized by agency heads to operate as needed on the county EOC frequency and have been issued radio call numbers accordingly. Currently, we can be paged out as needed, just as if we were another agency. However, that frequency serves as the back-up in case of primary frequency failure. In that case, we do not operate on it. Due to that, we have applied for and have been granted by the FCC, our own frequency outside of the amateur bands. With this addition, we will be able to continue to serve.
Why outside the amateur band you may ask. Simple. To maintain a direct connection to the agency being served and individuals within the agency. It makes it more convenient for them. They can simply switch a channel, obtain the desired information and continue on with their mission at hand. A second reason for a private frequency is that it expands the field of potential members. We have found that many are reluctant to put in a lot of study in order to pass a test to operate a radio. Getting new members on board is much easier without that. All of this does not exclude amateur radio. It is most definitely a tool that we utilize and will continue to utilize. There is much flexibility and capability in the use of amateur radio, but it is not exclusive to all else. We STRONGLY encourage that all team members acquire their Amateur Radio license, but it is not a requirement or pre-requisite.
A little about Hockley County
Hockley County is located at approximately 33-36-36 north, 102-20-22W and covers nearly 909 square miles, only one of which is water. While largely rural, the county has 7 cities and towns within its jurisdiction. According to the 2020 census it is home to 21,537 people.
Hockley county has 1 municipal airport located on the south of Levelland. There are numerous public buildings and recreational facilities located within Hockley county. There are state, county and city offices and facilities, the South Plains college campus, Unites States Postal Service and Offices, city and town independent school districts. The largest city, Levelland which also serves as the seat of Hockley county, is also known as the City of Mosaics due to the many mosaics that are located in parks and on buildings within the city. The Levelland city park on the west side of town hosts a Frisbee Golf course. Industries within are mainly centered around agriculture and petroleum. Rail transportation growth has led to the Levelland Industrial Rail Park which serves several supply and manufacturing businesses. A hospital and a number of medical clincs serve the town and county.