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NWS Tampa Bay 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.

Please see for information on amateur radio networks and frequencies



                         Scheduled SKYWARN Training Webinars

Date/Time Free Online Training
January 22 2018 from 1-2 pm Email  for information on how to attend
January 23, 2018 from 7-8 pm Email for information on how to attend
February 12, 2018 from 7-8 pm Email for information on how to attend
February 15, 2018 from 7-8 pm Email for information on how to attend
February 16, 2018 from 7-8 pm Email for information on how to attend
March 10, 2018 from 1-2 pm Email for information on how to attend
More to come so check back soon  









2018 Changes to the NWS Tampa Bay Area SKYWARN Program

  • Live online SKYWARN Webinars multiple times in January, February, and March,  then about once a month after that. Check the table below for date and times.  More will be added. 
  • Online Spotter Information entry and automated Certificates. No more waiting!
  • New Spotters will no longer receive a individualized SKYWARN ID as this is needed for automation. Those that have an ID should keep using them.  
  • Download PDFs of our Weather Spotter's Field Guide and the local SKYWARN Handout with reporting details (restricted to Spotters).


Interested in reporting hazardous weather to NWS Tampa Bay?
Take One or Both of these FREE Online SKYWARN Spotter Trainings

Spotter Network logo
Do this training if you want to do SKYWARN for Smartphones (Experimental)

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 Three Training Options to become a Spotter for NWS Tampa Bay.  Spotters should renew every 3 years.

  1. Attend an in-person training (see schedule below)

    • See table below for a list of in-person and virtual training dates and times. 
  2. Join the Spotter Network at

    • Create an account
    • Take their SKYWARN Spotter online training and pass quiz to become a member
    • Click on "Member Networks" in left hand menu, then join "Tampa Bay, FL (NWS/TBW)"
    • If you would like to be a NWS Tampa Bay Spotter, send us an Email after you've joined our member network and we will send you information on how to get your Certificate. 
  3. Take the MetEd SKYWARN Spotter online trainings above


 West Central and Southwest Florida SKYWARN Spotter Class Schedule

Training is free an open to the public. No registration needed unless otherwise noted.

Date/Time County Location

October 18, 2017 at 1 pm


University of South Florida
Marshall Student Center Room 3711

November 14 at 1 pm


Bonita Springs Fire Station 4 (open to public)
27701 Bonita Grande Dr, Bonita Springs, FL  34135

November 18, 2017 at 1 pm


Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club’s club house 
6909 Tierra Verde St.  Port Richey, FL

December 1, 2017, 6pm-10pm

December 2, 2017, 9am-5pm

NWS Ruskin

SKYWARN Recognition Day

 All Spotters Welcome to Check in from
their location, and you will be recorded as an official contact

2525 14th Ave SE, Ruskin, FL  33570

December 9, 2017, Noon-1:30 pm


Tampa Bay Hamfest
Strawberry Festival Facilities
303 N Lemon St, Plant City, FL  33563

Classes are 1.5 hours long unless otherwise indicated. Questions? Contact


Volunteer as a SKYWARN Spotter for NWS Tampa Bay


NWS Tampa Bay requires SKYWARN Spotters to meet the following three requirements:

  • Live in or near west central or southwest Florida to receive an ID from NWS Tampa Bay.  Counties include Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto, Highlands, Charlotte, and Lee. 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 are encouraged to take the training but can not receive an offical Spotter ID.
  • Take a SKYWARN training every 3 years to remain active in the program
  • Once trained, Spotters will receive a link to download the handouts
  • Amateur Radio:   Email questions, comments and suggestions to our amateur radio focal point Richard Rude, KE4EXL at richard.rude@noaa.govPlease see for more information on networks and frequencies in our area



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:
  • Go to: and click on your state
  • 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.