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SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters. The spotters are trained by local National Weather Service Forecast Offices on how to spot severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and flooding. In some parts of the country, spotters also report snowfall and ice accumulation.

Storm spotter networks provide an invaluable service to both the NWS and the public. Even the most advanced technology will often fail to detect severe weather occurring at or near the ground. The most effective warning service is provided only by maintaining a dynamic relationship with local spotter networks.

Emergency Management Agencies, local law enforcement agencies, and local spotter networks are deployed when severe weather approaches. Reports of severe weather are relayed via HAM radio networks, REACT citizens band and GMRS radios, or by phone to the local Weather Service office.

Forecasters use meteorological tools such as radar and satellite to help spotter networks determine where severe weather is most likely to occur. Reports received from the spotter network, in turn, help verify existing warnings or alert the NWS to the need for a warning, and serve to increase public awareness of the imminent weather.

Resources

National Weather Service SKYWARN® Page
National SKYWARN® Homepage
Weather Spotters' Field Guide (72 pages/26.6 MB)
   Abridged field use section (25 pages/10.22 MB)
Advanced Spotter's Field Guide(30 pages/3.2 MB
Storm Spotters Glossary
Skywatcher Cloud Chart
NOAA's Owlie SKYWARN Educational website
Submit Storm Report

 


Upcoming Spotter Classes

Schedule of Spotter classes offered by the NWS Omaha/Valley office

 

For more information about local HAM Radio and Spotter Groups, visit the following links:

Ham Radio Resources