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2021 SKYWARN Storm Spotters Schedule
Severe Weather Awareness Weeks in 2021
MINNESOTA:  April 12-16, TOR Drill Apr 15th N. DAKOTA: Apr 26-30. TOR Drill Apr 28th
Download Field Guide:  Weather Spotter's Field Guide
Take FREE Online Courses:  1. Role of the SkyWarn Spotter
           2. SkyWarn Spotter Convective Basics
           3. SkyWarn Spotter Training

2021 Spotter Training Sessions

Updated as of:  Apr 9, 2021.  
Note:  All classes will be "virtual" only through the Spring of 2021, meaning online content with a real instructor. These SkyWarn Refresher classes will be offered on Monday evening (7-8pm) and Tuesday afternoons (2-3pm), throughout April. Spotter classes are free of charge and open to the public.


How to Sign up for a Virtual Class

  1. Click the class you would like to attend below to show the registration link, or simply click here > SkyWarn Refresher Registration
  2. Complete the registration form. If more than one person will be watching, you don't need to register more than once - we'll send an email about how to register as a spotter and get your certificate after the class. 
  3. Once registered, you will receive an email with a link to join. Before the class, please visit the GoToWebinar System Check and try a test session to make sure your computer, tablet, or smartphone is ready to attend the class! If you do not have a strong internet connection, you will have the option to call in by phone to listen to the audio.

For further information concerning our warning program at 
The National Weather Grand Forks, please contact:
Greg Gust, Warning Coordination Meteorologist.

Frequently Asked Questions About SkyWarn

What is SKYWARN?

  • Skywarn (formed in the early 1970s) is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of volunteer severe weather spotters. Skywarn volunteers support their local community and government by providing the NWS with timely and accurate severe weather reports. These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to inform communities of approaching severe weather. The focus of Skywarn (and of the NWS) is save lives and property.

    Since the mid 1990s, the WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) has provided valuable information to area forecasters...with better detection of severe storm phenomena and more accurate and timely warnings. However, even with the advance in technology... "ground truth" is still a very important part of the warning process. "Ground truth" is what is actually occurring. Is the storm tornadic? Is it producing large hail? How about damaging winds? Most of the "ground truth" is provided by trained storm spotters (through Skywarn)...or the "eyes of the NWS."

     Who Are SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotters?

  •  SKYWARN spotters across North Dakota and Minnesota consist mainly of amateur radio operators, emergency response officials, and trained public responders. The vast majority of those involved are volunteers who provide this valuable public service. These Spotters donate their time and equipment to help us (the NWS) get warnings out to the public, and to get public reports of severe weather back to the NWS any means possible.

    Spotters are generally self-activating... meaning they pay attention to the latest Forecast, Convective Outlook, and Watch or Warning... then they observe and report on the occurrence of severe weather from wherever they may be located.

    How can I get involved?

  •  Every year the National Weather Service in Grand Forks conducts both "basic" and "advanced" spotter training classes. Individuals are taught the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, what constitutes severe weather, and how to report this information. Advanced classes consider more extreme storm features to look for and where to find them. Additional information on reporting and basic severe weather safety are also covered.

    Each class, Basic and Advanced, is a multi-media presentation which includes detailed video. Classes are typically scheduled back-to-back on the same evening. Each class typically takes around 70 minutes, with about a 15 minute break for questions and refreshments. New Spotters are encouraged to attend the Basic Class while veteran Spotters may chose to attend the Advanced Class. To find out when a class will be given near you, Click Here

Area Contacts for SkyWarn or Amateur Radio Information

Contact your local County Emergency Manager in North Dakota  or in Minnesota  for location and time of the SKYWARN training in your county this spring.

For additional information on the SKYWARN program, contact

The National Weather Service will typically issue a warning for one or both of the following reasons; Doppler radar detects severe weather or SKYWARN spotters report severe weather. If a warning is issued for your location, you are in danger and need to seek shelter.

The biggest supporters of the SKYWARN program are emergency response officials and amateur radio operators. One of the best ways to get involved is to talk with an amateur radio operator. If you have a scanner, tune in to a local amateur radio SKYWARN net (see list below) to get a feel for what is involved.

Amateur Radio SKYWARN Frequencies in:
Northwest Minnesota
  • Barnesville MN - 147.060+ MHz
  • Bemidji MN - 145.450- or 146.730- MHz
  • Crookston MN - 147.120+ MHz
  • Detroit Lakes MN - 146.820- MHz
  • Fergus Falls MN - 146.640- or 444.200+ MHz
  • Fisher MN - 146.700- MHz
  • Karlstad MN - 145.470- MHz 
  • Lengby MN - 147.270+ MHz
  • Northome MN - 146.760- MHz
  • Park Rapids MN - 147.300+ MHz
  • Thief River Falls MN - 146.850- MHz
  • Wadena MN - 147.330+ MHz 
  • Camp Wilderness MN - 147.390+ MHz
  • Wannaska MN - 147.090+ MHz 
  • Warroad MN - 147.090+ MHz
  • Williams MN - 147.000- MHz
Eastern North Dakota
  • Barney ND - 146.610- MHz
  • Carrington ND - 146.670- MHz
  • Cavalier ND - 147.150+ or 446.525- MHz
  • Devils Lake ND - 146.880- MHz
  • Fargo ND - 145.350- (Tone 123) or 146.970- MHz
  • Grafton ND - 146.760- MHz 
  • Grandin ND - 146.760- MHz
  • Grand Forks ND - 146.940- (Tone 123) or 147.390+ MHz
  • Gwinner ND - 145.110- MHz
  • Horace ND - 146.715- or 443.750+ MHz
  • Leeds ND - 147.000- MHz
  • Lisbon ND - 147.000- MHz
  • Lakota ND - 146.820- MHz
  • Langdon ND - 146.790- or 441.525+ MHz
  • Maddock ND - 147.240+ or 442.250+ MHz
  • Mayville ND - 146.910- MHz
  • Petersburg ND - 146.820- or 443.950+ MHz
  • Rock Lake ND - 147.300+ MHz
  • Valley City ND - 146.790- MHz 
  • Wahpeton ND - 147.375+ or 443.800+ MHz

Most of these sites can be linked together.  In times of severe weather, this "link" allows amateur radio operators at the NWS in Grand Forks to communicate with those directly affected by the storm.  The callsign for the NWS in Grand Forks is N0GF.   Amateur radio operators are a vital part of the NWS severe weather warning program.

Amateur Radio Clubs

Amateur Radio Links