National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Table of Contents
2017 Spring Spotter Talk Schedule


Date Community Location Time
06/7/17 Bangor

Penobscot County Emergency Management Agency

69 Hammond St., Bangor (next to the Post Office)
6:00 pm
05/24/17 Houlton

Houlton Fire Station (Training Room), 99 Military St, Houlton

6:00 pm
06/13/17 Ellsworth Ellsworth Public Library, 20 State St., Ellsworth 6:00 pm
05/19/17 Virtual (Click Here to Sign Up) Virtual (Click Here to Sign Up) 6:00 pm
06/05/17 Virtual (Click Here to Sign Up) Virtual (Click Here to Sign Up)

6:00 pm

What is a Weather Spotter?
  • About:  The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.


  • Who is Eligible?: NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.


  • How to Sign Up?:  The NWS Caribou holds two series of spotter talks each year.  The first is during the spring months (late May/early June) and this training is focused on summer severe weather threats.  The second series is held in late fall and these training sessions are focused on winter weather hazards.   For more information on being a spotter please contact the Warning Coordination Officer


What You Should Report


Weather Type Report Criteria  What Specifically to Report
Tornado Always Report Location, movement, visible damage
Funnel Always Report Organized, Persistent, Sustained Rotation
Wall Clouds Always Report Organized, Persistent, Sustained Rotation
Hail > Pea Size Report the Largest Stone
Wind > 40 mph or visible damage Measured Wind Speeds, Type of visible wind damage
Heavy Rainfall Rainfall Rates > 1" per/hour How Much, How Quick
Flooding Always Report Flooding that impacts roads, homes or businesses. Streams or Rivers are near bankfull.
Snowfall / Sleet > 1"  Snowfall amounts and snowfall rates > 2" per/hour
Ice Accretion Any Icing Radial Ice Accretion
Blowing Snow Near White Out Conditions Location and Duration
Ice Jams Always Report Location and Flooding that impacts roads, homes, businesses
Storm Damage Always Damage to Any Human Infrastructure and/or Significant Erosion or Tree Damage


Amateur Radio
  • Amateur Radio operators are a critical part of the SKYWARN Weather spotter program. These "HAMs" as they're called, are able to utilize their skills with radio to reach out over a large area and gather storm reports. The National Weather Service utilizes Amateur Radio operators around the country to help full-fill our agency's mission to protect lives and property.
  • The National Weather Service in Caribou is seeking amateur radio groups in northern and eastern Maine that would like to participate in this program locally. Participation in the program is voluntary and would be based on impending or ongoing hazardous weather situations impacting the local area. Please contact us if you're interested.
  • Specifically, we're looking for volunteers in Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington counties.