National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce




2019 Skywarn Spotter Training Sessions


Please check back for dates of additional webinar training sessions.

Date Time County Location
  • Pre-registration is required (follow the link(s) to register).  Additional classes or cancellations may occur, check often for updates. 

  • All classes last less than 2 hours.

  • They are free and most sessions are open to the public.

  • Classes are appropriate for all ages. Ages 10 and up will likely get the most out of the training.

  • Classes are scheduled in collaboration with local county officials.

Spotter Training Webinars
Note: Additional classes will be scheduled at a later date.
Live web seminars ("webinars") are open to residents of eastern New York and western New England. The training is the same that is offered in-person. PLEASE follow the special registration link provided above.


What is Skywarn™?

Skywarn™ is a nationwide network of volunteer weather spotters who report to and are trained by the National Weather Service (NWS). These spotters report many forms of significant or severe weather such as severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, heavy snow, and flooding.

The staff at NWS Forecast Office Albany are responsible for issuing local forecasts and severe weather warnings for much of eastern New York, southern Vermont, the Berkshires of western Massachusetts and Litchfield County Connecticut. Skywarn™ Spotters provide an invaluable service by providing ground truth so we can correlate what is seen on radar to what is actually occurring, help warn downstream communities, add value to our statements and warnings, and to verify forecasts and warnings. Spotters act as our eyes and ears helping us provide better services

Download the Skywarn™ Flyer


Check out the National Skywarn™ Page & National Skywarn™ Recognition Day

How to Join?

It is easy. All that it is required is attending a free training session. The training sessions are offered during the year mainly during the spring and fall. The sessions are announced on NOAA Weather Radio and are posted on our web page, Facebook and Twitter.

Alternative Training on-line training - course covers the basics of being a Skywarn™ Spotter

Please contact us with your completed certificates.

How else can I be involved?

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow NetworkCoCoRaHS


Skywarn™ - Reporting


Safety is the top priority for the SKYWARN Weather Spotter program. The NWS does not encourage its SKYWARN weather spotters to engage in storm chasing. However, the NWS does recognize that SKYWARN spotters, engaged in mobile activities, may encounter severe weather and should be alert to rapidly changing weather conditions that could impact personal safety.

  • Personal safety is the primary objective of every spotter.  Never put yourself in harm’s way.  This includes attempting to walk or drive over obstructions such as flooded roadways and downed power lines, and positioning yourself under objects that have a potential to fall or be blown over due to severe weather.

The spotter network is usually activated whenever there is a threat of severe weather, this is usually preceded by the issuance of a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, Tornado Watch, Flood Watch or some other type of watch. Spotters are asked to report any occurrence of severe weather to your Skywarn™ EC, Skywarn™ Net Controller or directly to us at the NWS.  If you see any of the following below, please let us know!


 Tornadoes, Water Spouts, Funnel Clouds or Wall Clouds (rotating or non-rotating)

 Damaging Winds - downed trees, large limbs and power lines as well as structural damage and measured wind gusts of 40+ mph

 Hail - any size

 Lightning - causing property damage and/or personal injury/death

 Flooding, Ice Jams, bank full or near bank full waterbodies

 Measured Snowfall – whenever a watch, warning or advisory is in effect or if you feel the information is important to us. Also storm total snowfall at the end of the event. Remember only one measurement every 6 hours. 

 Freezing rain or freezing drizzle - all occurrences

 Measured Rainfall – whenever a watch, warning or advisory is in effect or if you feel the information is important to us. Also storm total rainfall at the end of the event.

 Any other event that you feel may help us determine the severity of storms


Reference Materials


Floods, The Awesome Power

Skywatcher Cloud Poster

NOAA Weather Radio

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes and Lightning

Weather Spotters Guide

Winter Storms


Tropical Cyclones


Skywarn Operations Manual for Amateur Radio

 - Appendices (B, C, D)


NWS Products and Services Reference Guidebook

Other Publications -  Brochures & Booklets


Emergency Manager & Storm Spotter Magazine StormBuster

Be READY. Plan, Prepare, Stay Informed -

Federal Emergency Management Agency - FEMA