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NWS Columbia Skywarn Program
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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a member of SKYWARN?

SKYWARN is not really something to be a member of. It’s the concept of using volunteer storm spotters to provide critical information to local communities and to the NWS, and that’s what has driven the storm spotter program since it began decades ago. It's a great idea to contact your local emergency manager to find out what formal spotter networks are in place near you and how you can get involved. We are also happy to provide help and guidance.

What is my spotter ID number? Do I get an ID card?

NWS Columbia does not issue ID cards or spotter ID numbers. After you complete training, you can register with us. You'll then be added to our roster of qualified SKYWARN Spotters.

Do I need an amateur radio license to be a storm spotter?

You don’t have to be an amateur radio operator to make a severe weather report, but many spotter networks are made up of dedicated amateur radio operators who use radio to coordinate their local network and to relay reports to the NWS. If you’re interested in learning more about amateur radio, visit this site. The only requirement for becoming a spotter is a desire to complete training, and to be a volunteer that can make a life-saving difference.

Who do I contact for more information? Volunteer SKYWARN Coordinators

For general questions regarding SKYWARN, feel free to send us an email at

Our office also has dedicated volunteers who serve portions of our coverage area. These Volunteer Coordinators can also help you:

Central Savannah River Area (CSRA): Aaron Buck, KE0HKS -

Midlands: Bryan LaGrant, KN4FXL -

Pee Dee:  VACANT

Do I need to be a storm chaser to be involved in SKYWARN?

Absolutely not! We do not ask our SKYWARN Spotters to chase tornadoes or severe weather. The idea behind the program is to report severe weather from where you are...whether at home, school, work or play. For safety reasons we do not train or ask our spotters to chase any severe weather, and to only send reports when it is safe to do so.

Additional Information and Resources

Schedule of Upcoming SKYWARN Spotter Classes
SKYWARN Weather Spotter's Field Guide
Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning...Nature's Most Violent Storms
Sky Watcher Cloud Poster
National SKYWARN Website
SKYWARN Recognition Day (Every 1st Saturday in December!)
NWS Columbia References (pdf)
NWS Booklets and Brochures

Most Recent SKYWARN Training Class Slides

Online Basic SKYWARN

SKYWARN Recognition Day 2019 Presentations

Advanced SKYWARN Spotter Training

NWS Coop Program Intro & Chesterfield Station History