2015 Spotter Training Videos
Welcome to the Northern Indiana National Weather Service (NWS) Skywarn program. Skywarn is a group of trained severe weather spotters that report directly to the NWS.
Year after year, reports from Skywarn volunteers assist the NWS in issuing more timely and accurate warnings based on real-time reports throughout our 37 County Warning Area covering northern Indiana, southern Michigan and northwest Ohio. The NWS's primary mission is to issue warnings to protect life and property.
The ground truth reports from Skywarn spotters are an integral part of the mission critical warning process that combines advanced Doppler radar data and meteorological skills. Skywarn Spotter observations also provide us with information when compiling documentation of severe weather events, verification of warnings and service assessments. These reports become part of the Storm Data publication, providing data on a variety of severe and unusual weather phenomenon, including statistics on deaths, injuries, and property and crop damage nation-wide.
A large number of our Skywarn spotters are also licensed amateur radio operators, also known as "hams". The hams throughout many of our counties organize their spotter efforts on amateur radio frequencies when severe weather threatens. Many reports are relayed through the IMO (Indiana-Michigan-Ohio) Skywarn Network. Spotters in this network will then relay their reports directly to the amateur radio station WX9IWX at our office, staffed by local amateur radio operators who volunteer their time to come into the office versus being in the field or at home. We want to thank all of the volunteer severe weather spotters for their time and commitment to Skywarn.
The National Weather Service in Northern Indiana is continuing to expand into other social media platforms to gather and share information.
Basic spotter training sessions are held every year, during February and March. A listing of upcoming sessions can be found by viewing the Event Calendar. The training classes typically take around 2 hours. In order to remain current, annual refresher training is encouraged.
In an effort to maintain an accurate database, spotters who have not received training within 3 years of the their last session will be removed.
Some NWS offices issue ID's and/or certificates. However, maintaining such a large database in addition to tracking all the ID's, can be a difficult task. As a result, the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana does not issue ID's or certificates. The host of each training session, typically the county or city Emergency Manager, can issue and track these, at their discretion.
We use a number of methods to receive reports. These can be found in the Download section below.
An online course is being offered. This online course covers the basics of being a SKYWARN Spotter. The goal of the course is to provide baseline training for all weather spotters through multiple modules covering the procedures for spotting (including communication and spotter report criteria) and safety considerations for all hazards.
You can choose to register as a SKYWARN Spotter with the National Weather Service (NWS) by using the checkbox that appears after you Enroll in the course.
New for 2015! We have added and will continue to update our YouTube Channel to include the 2015 Spotter Program conducted in February and March. These videos are to be used as a supplement to the training and DO NOT replace actual attendance.
More detailed information about this online course is available here.
Maintaining Severe Weather Awareness
Beaufort Wind Chart (and Spotter Reporting Format)
Owlie Skywarn Booklet (1.6 MB pdf) from NOAA's National Weather Service