The SkywarnTM spotter program is a nationwide network of volunteers trained by the National Weather Service (NWS) to report significant weather. Anyone is welcome to participate and there is no prerequisite training necessary. Skywarn training is usually in the spring and the schedule will be posted on the web page. You have heard of "storm chasers"? This is your chance to become one!
CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network)
CoCoRaHS is a grassroots nationwide precipitation observing network. If you have a rain gage and are willing to report your rain and snow each day on line, you can participate! A dense precipitation network can identify localized areas of heavy rain, flash floods and heavy snow. Timely identification of these dangerous events can help save lives! It also makes for a great family activity!
Report severe weather, damage, or injuries/fatalities from the weather
If you have a weather emergency, call your local authorities (dial 911 in most communities). The best way to report severe weather is to join Skywarn. This gives you direct access to the Skywarn network and the National Weather Service (NWS). You can report severe weather toll-free to the Cleveland NWS. Dial 877-633-6772 and use the menu system to input your report. You can always email severe weather information and photos to the Cleveland NWS although we will likely not get your report real time. Please remember, safety first! Do not call/email until you can so so safely!
Snow Observer Network
The National Weather Service in Cleveland collects snow observations twice a day, each morning and evening, when it snows. No special equipment is needed, just a ruler and the willingness to go out into the cold!
Cooperative Weather Observers
The National Weather Service has Observers at various locations to report weather data every day. The data is used for important weather records. Opportunities to become a cooperative observer are limited but be sure to express your interest. Getting involved and experience in one of the other reporting networks (above) is a good first step.
The National Weather Service offers student intern and cooperative study opportunities at various offices throughout the country. You must apply at the National Office. The National Weather service in Cleveland may have opportunities for a few student volunteers, especially in the summer. Students in the field of meteorology or a related field (including computer science) would be expected to work in the office for a certain number of hours/days, complete assigned tasks and become familiar with office procedures. To find out more information locally, please email the Meteorologist-in-Charge.
Jobs at the National Weather Service
Most jobs in the National Weather Service require a degree in Meteorology. There are other jobs in electronics, administration, and information technology. For a listing of all government jobs nationwide, please see the USA.gov website.
Study to Become a Meteorologist
You can become a meteorologist several ways. It is most common to get a degree (undergraduate and/or graduate) from an institution of higher learning that offers curriculum to meet basic NWS standards. Colleges and Universities also offer academic research opportunities. The military offers officer programs that will get you into meteorology. The media offers weather related jobs, some of which may not require a meteorology degree. Various private sector businesses offer weather related jobs which will require differing experience/academic skills.
Weather as a Hobby
Weather can be appreciated and enjoyed in many ways and with the internet and your local libraries your can learn much. Look for groups that have weather related activities including the American Meteorological Society which has a local Northeast Ohio Chapter and the National Weather Association among others.