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Heavy Rainfall Across the South Today; Midweek Coastal Storm for New England

Heavy rainfall and isolated strong to severe thunderstorms are forecast across parts of the South today with a stalled front across the region. Wednesday into Thursday, an area of low pressure will develop into a coastal storm and spread heavy rain, strong winds and coastal flooding from the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast. The strong winds will also create hazardous seas off New England. Read More >

Welcome to our new SKYWARN page! The previous SKYWARN page that listed Preparedness information can now be found at www.weather.gov/fwd/preparedness

NWS Fort Worth Skywarn Program
About SKYWARN Training Schedule Training Certificates Submit Report More Resources

What is SKYWARN®?

A picture of a storm approaching NWS Fort Worth with a large shelf cloud.The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. In most years, thunderstorms, tornadoes and lightning caused hundreds of injuries and deaths and billions in property and crop damages.  To obtain critical weather information, the National Weather Service (NWS) established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a citizen volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. SKYWARN® storm spotters are citizens who form the nation's first line of defense against severe weather. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports oA picture of Amateur Radio operators working HAM radios at NWS Fort Worth.f severe weather to the National Weather Service.

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 an average year, the the United States experiences more than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes.

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. Storm spotters play a critical role because they can see things that radar and other technological tools cannot, and this ground truth is critical in helping the NWS perform our primary mission, to save lives and property.


The SKYWARN® Program at NWS Fort Worth

Many people ask how they can become a member of SKYWARN. In most cases, SKYWARN isn't really something you join, but instead is a concept based on having citizen volunteers help their community and the NWS by observing and reporting hazardous weather occurring in their area. Anyone can be a storm spotter and submit reports directly to the NWS. If you are interested in becoming a member of an official local SKYWARN storm spotter network, you'll probably want to contact your city or county emergency management office for information. Many communities have organized networks of storm spotters, often made up of amateur radio operators, fire departments, law enforcement or other volunteers. These local networks may have very specific training and membership requirements, so check with your local officials to see how you might be able to get involved.

A picture of a SKYWARN class with attendees.Every year, NWS Fort Worth conducts over 40 SKYWARN classes within our coverage area of 46 counties in North and Central Texas. These classes are usually held between January and March, before the spring severe weather season. A listing of upcoming SKYWARN classes can be found under the Training Schedule tab above. Each class is free and open to all ages. There is no pre-registration, and you do not have to be a resident of that county to attend any of our SKYWARN classes.

The Basic SKYWARN presentation is our most common and popular class. The Basic presentation covers severe thunderstorm characteristics, cloud formations, identifying the different threats associated with severe storms, how to report, and basic weather safety. The topics of the Advanced presentation can change from year-to-year, and in the past has featured advanced topics in storm spotting and advanced topics in forecasting severe weather. At our Saturday Advanced classes, the Advanced session in the afternoon also features a Basic Radar Interpretation talk. We strongly recommend everyone attend a Basic presentation at least once a year. If needed, training certificates are provided at each class. We do not issue Spotter IDs.