National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

San Joaquin Valley/Hanford Weather Service Forecast Office

About Skywarn Training Schedule Submit Report Training Resources


Frequently Asked Questions
question mark image

What is my spotter ID number? Do I get an ID card?
NWS Hanford does not issue certificates or ID cards for spotters, and we do not use spotter ID numbers.

Do I need an amateur radio license to be a storm spotter?
It depends on your community and how involved you want to be. 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.

Spotter Training Live Course

Forecasters from the National Weather Service in Hanford conduct storm spotter training sessions each year to help prepare spotters for the upcoming severe weather season. The NWS conducts the training at the invitation of local emergency management officials who organize the training and who, in most cases, are responsible for maintaining their local storm spotter network. Most sessions are open to anyone who is interested in learning more about being a spotter, but you should check to be sure before attending a class.

Our live training sessions are approximately 1.5 hours in length. This goal of the training is to train spotter to assist local officials and the NWS with early detection of severe weather, and provide ground truth during severe weather events. The learning objectives of both our live and web based training are:

• Understand the how the NWS Integrated Warning System works and how the spotter fits into this system

• Identify the ingredients needed for organized thunderstorms

• Recognize the visual and environmental clues suggestive of severe weather

• Distinguish between legitimate clues and non-significant features associated with severe weather

• Learn how to stay safe when storm spotting

• Learn proper storm reporting procedures