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LWS Lubbock Skywarn Program
About Skywarn Training Schedule Become a Spotter Submit Report Training Resources

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

How do I become a member of SKYWARN?
SKYWARN is not really something to be a member of. It’s the concept of using volunteer storm spotters to provide critical information to local communities and to the NWS, and that’s what has driven the storm spotter program since it began decades ago. Your community may have an organized storm spotter network that uses the name SKYWARN, and you should contact your local emergency manager to find out what formal spotter networks are in place near you.

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.

How do I report severe weather?
In many communities, spotters are expected to report directly to their local emergency management office, fire department or law enforcement office. Those reports are important for local officials who need to make decisions regarding local warning systems or deal with storm damage or flooding. Local officials will usually relay your report to the NWS in Lubbock.

If you are not affiliated with a local spotter group or are unable to contact your local officials, you can submit a storm report directly to our office via the Submit a Storm Report online form.

Spotter Training Live Course

example radar imageForecasters from the National Weather Service in Lubbock 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


Spotter Training Webinars and Quiz

NWS Lubbock has developed a series of training videos covering different aspects of severe weather and storm spotting. Click on the thumbnail slides below to access these videos. The videos are now hosted on YouTube.

Supercells &
accessory clouds
Tornadoes &
other circulations
Spotting &
Skywarn Introduction
Skywarn Introduction
Supercell & accessory clouds
Reporting and Safety


May 2015 Advanced Webinar - LCL/LFC Appearance, Bow Echoes & The Latest On Tornado Science

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