National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Skywarn Logo 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



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)

MetEd Logo


 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)

    • These are few and far between and run from October through April
    • We do our best to do a training in each county every year 
  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 a NWS Tampa Bay Spotter ID, send us an Email after you've joined our member network and we will mail it out in 1 to 3 weeks. 
  3. Take the MetEd SKYWARN Spotter online trainings above

    • Email your County/City/Zip and certificate(s) to both and
    • Check box to notify local WFO
    • It may take 1 to 3 weeks to receive your Spotter ID, but we will acknowledge your Email when we receive it


 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


Limited in-person SKYWARN training
next 8 months due to focus on 24/7 
NWS Ruskin Operations



To alleviate the lack of in-person training, we will begin
once a month SKYWARN Webinars starting in January.
Stay tuned, more to come

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 Spotter Welcome
Will have amateur radios setup
2525 14th Ave SE, Ruskin, FL  33570




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 letter or Email from our office in 1 to 3 weeks. Will include training certificate, Spotter ID Number, and an 800 number to call in reports
  • Amateur Radio



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.