The SKYWARN Storm Spotter Program was created by the National Weather Service (NWS) to improve warning services. The NWS needs real-time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain, tornadoes, and waterspouts to effectively warn the public of inclement weather. Even as new technology allows the NWS to issue warnings with more lead time, spotters will always be needed as links between radar indications of severe weather and ground truth. Storm Spotter volunteers serve as severe weather spotters for the NWS and local emergency management programs, and generally have two things in common - an interest in the weather and a desire to serve their community.
1) Local Spotter training classes for southeast SC and GA: Check our latest local Storm Spotter Training Schedule to see if a class is scheduled near you. You may also consider hosting a spotter class (we apologize we cannot accommodate all requests).
2) Online Storm Spotter Course: This option is best if you cannot attend one of our in-person training sessions or want to refresh your knowledge. You will need to register on the COMET website to access the training. Be sure to follow the instructions in the Course Description section for how to become an official Storm Spotter for the NWS in Charleston, SC.
3) Storm Spotter Training Outside of our Local Area: Most National Weather Services Offices across the country provide training specific to their local areas of responsibility. Click Here for training in other areas of the country.
Severe Weather Reports Needed
When reporting any of these events, it's very important to tell us WHEN and WHERE they occurred. For geographic reference, an intersection and town are very useful so we can pinpoint the report. If it's a second or third hand report, please give us the source of the original report, along with all the applicable information about what was reported.
See our Weather Spotter Quick Reference Card for a lot of useful information.
Please report the size of the largest hailstones as they cause the most damage. Also, please do not use the term "marble size" or "ice cube" since these items come in many different sizes.
NWS Charleston utilizes the 2 meter amateur radio network across southeast SC and southeast GA to obtain severe weather reports. When a significant severe weather outbreak is anticipated, NWS meteorologists will call in a Net Control to initiate a severe weather net. The Call Sign for NWS Charleston during an organized net is WX4CHS. When calling net control, simply call Charleston Weather. It is not the intent of the net to provide the latest conditions and forecasts. The purpose of the net is to receive reports, not give them. During an active weather net, the operator may monitor the following repeaters (primary repeaters in bold):
All amateurs are cordially invited to check in to the Lowcountry SKYWARN Net every Tuesday night at 9 PM on the CARS and SCHeart repeater systems. The net is sponsored by the NWS in Charleston. The purpose is to practice calling a SKYWARN net and to encourage hams to relay weather information to the NWS if a net is activated. If severe weather is occurring or imminent at the weekly net time, the net will be cancelled for that week. You'll be asked your name, call sign, location, and a brief description of current weather conditions at your location. We look forward to hearing from you!