National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

About Skywarn

  • What is Skywarn

    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.

  • Why Have Skywarn

    The NWS staff at the Cleveland Forecast Office in Ohio, are responsible for issuing warnings for most of Northern Ohio and Northwest Pennsylvania. It is impossible to observe conditions in each of these regions simultaneously during a severe weather event. SkywarnTM volunteers become our eyes and ears helping to provide better weather watch and warning services to the public.

  • When will SkywarnFunction?

    Information is relayed to the National Weather Service during tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, snow storms, flooding, and any other weather event that involves the use of volunteer storm spotters.

  • Who will activate Skywarn

    The Weather Office and/or emergency management authorities may activate the SkywarnTM net usually whenever there is a threat severe weather or the forecast office issues a severe thunderstorm watch, tornado watch, or flood watch. In this case, information will be relayed through our amateur radio repeater.

  • Where will Skywarn observations be taken?

    SkywarnTM reports are relayed from wherever you are- on the road, in your office, or at your home- you don't have to travel to any particular location! It is important, however, to not jeopardize your own safety while participating in SkywarnTM.

  • Skywarn and HAM radio operators?

HAM radio operators have a special place in the Cleveland SkywarnTM system. Our Cleveland weather office has HAM radio equipment on site. A Skywarn Net run by the volunteer amateur radio net control operators allow for reports from the field to be directly heard at the Weather Service.

  • How do I join Skywarn?

You can learn more about how to become a trained Skywarn Spotter in our training section.