National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather

Example of large hail Example of wind damage
Hail Size Chart Wind Estimation Chart Severe Weather Topics




Winter Weather

Snow ruler
Snowfall Measurement Tips Winter Weather Topics





YouTube Training Videos Conference Call Slides





Rainfall Measurement Tips



What type of training is provided to the SWOP observer?

Training sessions are specifically designed to cover the type of information the NWS is looking for from its SWOP observers.  The meetings usually last around one hour and are held at various locations around central Illinois during the fall of the year.  Sessions include instruction on how to estimate hail size and wind speed, as well as how to recognize specific significant weather events.  Detailed information on how to measure and report snowfall is also provided.  All training sessions are very informal and participant questions are encouraged. 

Will I have to repeat the training every year?

In order to remain an active member of the SWOP program, we ask that you attend a training session every couple of years.  This will not only ensure your training remains up to date, but it will also give us a chance to personally interact with our observers.  If for whatever reason you're unable to attend and still want to be part of SWOP, please let us know via e-mail.  Otherwise, if we don't hear from you, we may lose contact and remove you from our member list.