Florida Keys National Weather Service SKYWARN® Program
The impacts of hazardous weather are experienced by many Americans each year. 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.
What is the SKYWARN Program?
There are two training options to become a Spotter for NWS Key West
Attend an in-person training (see schedule below)
- These are few and far between and run throughout the year
- We do our best to do a training in different locations throughout the keys
Take the MetEd SKYWARN Spotter online trainings above
- Email your city location and certificates to email@example.com
- It may take 2 to 3 weeks to receive your Spotter ID, but we will acknowledge your email when we receive it
Florida Keys SKYWARN Spotter Class Schedule
Trainings are open to the public unless otherwise stated
Volunteer as a SKYWARN Spotter for your Florida Keys National Weather Service
- NWS Key West requires SKYWARN Spotters to meet the following requirements:
- Live in the Florida Keys to receive an ID from NWS Key West.
- If you live elsewhere, please contact your local NWS office for more information
- Be at least 18-years-old.
- Those under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in attendance with a valid state ID.
- Once trained, Spotters will receive a letter or Email from our office in about 2 to 3 weeks
- Will include training certificate, Spotter ID Number, and an 800 number to call in reports
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.
Links to Great Info on the Web
Did You Know...
that storm spotters were first used during WWII to alert the military artillery plants of approaching lightning?
that after WWII spotter networks were maintained for military installations?
that after the May 25, 1955 tornado in Udall, KS killed 80 people, the NWS decided to train their own severe weather spotters?
that the first spotter training course was held March 8, 1959 in Wellington, KS for 225 weather spotters?
that the Skywarn™ program was officially created in 1965?
How Can I Get Involved?
NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local area. Training is conducted at these local offices and covers:
Basics of thunderstorm development
Fundamentals of storm structure
Identifying potential severe weather features
Information to report
How to report information
Basic severe weather safety
Classes are free and typically are about two hours long. To find a class in your area:
When your state comes up, click on the name of your Weather Forecast Office
Once at your local WFO home page, in the blue bar on the left, look for the SKYWARN link to find a schedule of classes and other local information
Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.
SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time--seconds and minutes that can help save lives.
SKYWARN® is a registered trademark of NOAA's National Weather Service. Rules for the usage of the SKYWARN® name and logo are available here.