National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Skywarn™ and Spotter Information



Do you have an interest in the weather? Are you always looking on the horizon for the next storm? Then maybe you can be the 'eyes and hears' of the National Weather Service as a Storm Spotter.


What is a Storm Spotter?

A Storm Spotter is an individual who volunteers their time by alerting the National Weather Service to significant weather events. By doing so, these individuals provide critical ground truth for radar echoes, snowfall amounts and flooding issues to name a few. These reports are vital to enhancing the National Weather Service Forecast and Warning programs. The San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area National Weather Service Office currently has over 800 spotters along the Central California Coastal Region.


Who is eligible to become a Storm Spotter?

Any individual who is willing to volunteer their time and lives in one of the following counties: Alameda , Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey , Napa , San Benito , San Francisco , San Mateo , Santa Clara , Santa Cruz and Sonoma .


How to become a Storm Spotter?

The easiest way to become a Storm Spotter is to attend a Storm Spotter training session in person. To view the latest scheduled training please visit At this time it is not mandatory to attend a training session to become a Storm Spotter, but it is highly recommended. If no training classes are scheduled you may contact, Matthew Mehle by email or by writing to:

National Weather Service Forecast Office
Attn: Storm Spotter Program Manager
21 Grace Hopper Ave , Stop 5
Monterey , CA 93943-5505


What should a Storm Spotter Report?
  • TORNADO (on the ground) or FUNNEL CLOUD (not touching the ground)
  • WIND (estimated or measured at 35 mph or more)
  • RAINFALL (one-half inch (0.5) or more in one hour)
  • FLOODING (of any kind)
  • DAMAGE and/or DEATHS and/or INJURIES (due to weather event)
  • HAIL (of any size)
  • VISIBILITY (less than 1/4 mile, for any reason)
  • SNOWFALL (of any amount)
How to report hazardous or severe weather
Twitter (social media) Facebook (social media) Preferred social media hashtags #cawx #BayAreaRain #wxreports
(831) 656-1725 (During business hours)
*It should be noted the preferred method for reporting is via the spotter 800 number listed on your spotter IDcard
Weather Safety Information
It is always important to practice safe spotting techniques.
Severe Weather 101
StormReady ®
Training Brochures

A Guide to Being a SKYWARNTM Spotter (large file 26mb) 

Sky Watcher Chart

NWS Basic Storm Spotter Field Guide

NWS Advanced Storm Spotter Field Guide

On-line SKYWARNTM Spotter Training (requires registration) 

Storm Spotter Glossary

NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Information

Printable Cloud Chart

An Introduction to Storm Observing and Reporting

Bay Breezes - Spotter Newsletter (*Archived Copies - no longer published)
Severe Weather Links
Local Storm Reports (interactive map)
National Storm Reports
Storm Prediction Center
National Severe Storm Laboratory