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Skywarn LogoFlorida Keys National Weather Service SKYWARN® Program 

The impacts of hazardous weather are experienced by many Americans each year. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.


    What is the SKYWARN Program?

Take the FREE Online SKYWARN Spotter Training!

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Scheduled Florida Keys SKYWARN Spotter Classes

Saturday, March 18, 2023 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Monroe County Government Center, 2nd Floor
Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Room
2798 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050
**NO RSVP NECESSARY**: Just show up; there's plenty of spaces available!




 There are two training options to become a Spotter for NWS Key West

  1. Attend an in-person training (see scheduled training sessions above)

    • These are few and far between and run throughout the year
    • We do our best to do a training in different locations throughout the keys 
  2. Take the MetEd SKYWARN Spotter (see online training details above)

    • Email your city location and certificates to
    • It may take 2 to 3 weeks to receive your Spotter ID, but we will acknowledge your email when we receive it

Volunteer as a SKYWARN Spotter for your Florida Keys National Weather Service

  • NWS Key West requires SKYWARN Spotters to meet the following requirements:
    • Live in the Florida Keys to receive an ID from NWS Key West.
      • If you live elsewhere, please contact your local NWS office for more information
    • Be at least 18-years-old. 
      • Those under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in attendance with a valid state ID.
  • Once trained, Spotters will receive a letter or Email from our office in about 2 to 3 weeks
    • Will include training certificate, Spotter ID Number, and an 800 number to call in reports


Who is Eligible?

NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.
Links to Great Info on the Web

Did You Know...

  • that storm spotters were first used during WWII to alert the military artillery plants of approaching lightning?
  • that after WWII spotter networks were maintained for military installations?
  • that after the May 25, 1955 tornado in Udall, KS killed 80 people, the NWS decided to train their own severe weather spotters?
  • that the first spotter training course was held March 8, 1959 in Wellington, KS for 225 weather spotters?
  • that the Skywarn™ program was officially created in 1965?

How Can I Get Involved?

NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local area. Training is conducted at these local offices and covers:
  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report
  • How to report information
  • Basic severe weather safety
Classes are free and typically are about two hours long. To find a class in your area:
  • Go to: and click on your state
  • When your state comes up, click on the name of your Weather Forecast Office
  • Once at your local WFO home page, in the blue bar on the left, look for the SKYWARN link to find a schedule of classes and other local information

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 the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.

SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time--seconds and minutes that can help save lives.

SKYWARN® is a registered trademark of NOAA's National Weather Service.  Rules for the usage of the SKYWARN® name and logo are available here.