National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


SKYWARN is a national effort to save lives during severe weather emergencies with an expanding network of trained weather spotters. The services performed by SKYWARN spotters have saved many lives.

The National Weather Service has a number of devices for detecting severe thunderstorms. Included in these are Doppler radar, satellite, and lightning detection networks.  However, the most important tool for observing thunderstorms is the trained eye of the storm spotter.

By providing observations, SKYWARN spotters assist National Weather Service members in their warning decisions and enable the National Weather Service to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property.

Storm spotters are, and always will be, an indispensable part of the severe local warning program.

The National Weather Service office in Buffalo participates in the annual  ARRL - SKYWARN special event.  For details on the national event, QSL instructions and the rest of the statistics, check out the Special event homepage.

NWS Buffalo SKYWARNTraining Sessions

SKYWARN is a nationwide program of spotters that report severe weather to the National Weather Service. Anyone can become a SKYWARN spotter for the National Weather Service, all you have to do is attend one of our Spotter Training Sessions. There is no charge for the training.

SKYWARN training sessions are held throughout our area of responsibility based on demand. SKYWARN training sessions for Severe Convective Weather (Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Flash Floods, etc.) are conducted from March through May. SKYWARN training sessions for Winter Weather are conducted from September through November. The basic training session provides a brief overview to the National Weather Service (the organization and our responsibilities), the equipment we use (including capabilities and limitations), and basic severe weather meteorology (including how thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes form). Training sessions last about two hours.

SKYWARN training sessions for Winter Weather are conducted from September through November. 

Attendees are instructed what types of severe weather the National Weather Service is interested in hearing about and are given an 800 telephone number for 24 hour access make reports directly to the NWS forecasters.

For more information, please contact:

Jon Hitchcock -- -- SKYWARN Focal Point, WFO Buffalo
Judith Levan -- -- WFO Buffalo, Warning Coordination Meteorologist


Spring 2017 Training Schedule





7 PM Erie

Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Cafeteria

224 East Main St

Springville, NY 14141

PROS Amateur Radio Club



6 PM Monroe

SUNY Brockport

Lennon Hall room 14

Brockport, NY 14420

SUNY Brockport



7 PM Oswego

SUNY Oswego

Shineman Science Center Room 380

Oswego, NY 13126

SUNY Oswego Meteorology Club



7 PM Erie

Buffalo State College

Bulger Communication Center Room West 2

Buffalo, NY 14222

Park in Lot I-37

Western NY AMS Chapter and Dr. Stephen Vermette



7 PM Chautauqua

Saint Peter Church

12 Elm St

Westfield, NY 14787

Chautauqua and Erie Amateur Radio Club



7 PM Oswego

Oswego County Offices

200 North Second St

Fulton, NY 13069

Oswego County Office of Emergency Services



7 PM Orleans

Orleans County Emergency Management Office

14064 County House Rd

Albion, NY 14411

Orleans County Emergency Management



7 PM Erie

Hamburg Youth Center

200 Prospect St

Hamburg, NY 14075

STARS Amateur Radio Club



7:30 PM Chautauqua

WCA Hospital

207 Foote Ave

Jamestown, NY 14701

Chautauqua County Amateur FM Assocation



6:00 PM Lewis

Lewis County Search and Rescue

7782 West State St

Lowville, NY 13367

Lewis County Department of Emergency Management



2:30 PM Monroe

Edison Career and Technology High School

655 Colfax Ave Room 3B9

Rochester, NY 14606

Edison Earth Science and Environmental Science Dept.


Other links

Western and Northern NY SKYWARN frequency map

An illustrated SKYWARN spotter guide

Other SKYWARN Sites:

NWS Binghamton SKYWARN Homepage

NWS Cleveland SKYWARN Homepage

NWS Albany SKYWARN Homepage

NWS Burlington SKYWARN Homepage