National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy Snow and High Winds in the West; Lake Effect Snow in the Great Lakes

A Pacific storm moving across the Northwest with a trailing cold front sweeping through the West will continue heavy snow over the Cascades, northern Rockies, and the Sierra into Thursday night. High winds are forecast on the High Plains Thursday into Friday. Heavy lake effect snow will continue downwind of the Great Lakes into Thursday. Read More >

               Weather Spotter Resource Page

 

What is an NWS Weather Spotter?
The National Weather Service in Spokane is looking for volunteers who would like to become weather spotters. Weather spotters provide 'on the spot' weather reports -- which cannot be replaced by other means. These weather reports greatly assist the National Weather Service in determining the strength of a storm and its effects on the surrounding area.

 

What Kind of Weather Do Spotters Report?
Most people think weather spotters are only useful to the National Weather Service during thunderstorm season. However, spotters are vital to the year-round operations of the National Weather Service. For example, reports of freezing rain, snow and flooding are equally useful to forecasters.

 

Where are weather spotters needed?
The National Weather Service is always recruiting new weather spotters in ALL parts of the Inland Northwest. There is currently a large concentration of spotters in the bigger cities of the region; like the Spokane metro area, Coeur d'Alene, Wenatchee, Lewiston, Moses Lake, and Pullman. There is a big need for spotters in many of the data sparse areas of the Columbia Basin and the northern Mountains. Overall, we welcome spotters from every county across the Inland Northwest.

 

So How Do You Become a Weather Spotter? 
Simply contact the NWS. 
Please include your name, address, phone number, elevation and distance from town.

After the information is processed, you will become a registered weather spotter and receive a personal Spotter ID number via email. Then you will be able to provide official spotter reports through our 800 number or online

‚ÄčWe occasionally call our spotters at home to help assess weather situations -- and give us an 'eyes on' view of the weather in their area.  The most important types of weather to report to the National Weather Service include snow, flooding, heavy rain, wind damage, hail and tornadoes/funnel clouds. 

  • Our quarterly newsletter, The Inland Northwest Weather Watcher. We also encourage our weather spotters to send in interesting weather stories and pictures to be included in the newsletter.

 

What about Weather Spotter Training? 
Spotter training sessions are important and needed to stay current on severe weather spotting. The sessions are conducted by the National Weather Service in the spring and fall. It's an opportunity for spotters to review basic spotter techniques and weather safety concerns.

  • Spotter Training Schedule will be posted when and where classes are offered. 
  • Recorded Spotter training is available locally and nationally 

Locally Recorded Spotter Training 
 

Fall Spotter Training 2022  
   Notes
Snow Measurement Training 2022
   Notes
Basic Spotter Training 2022        Notes Advanced Spotter Training 2022      Notes
Fall Spotter Training 2021            Notes   Snow Measurement Training 2021             Notes
Basic Spotter Training 2021        Notes Advanced Spotter Training 2021     Notes

 

 

National Spotter and Observer Training

COMET MetEd

CoCoRaHS

SKYWARN Spotter Training - Basic

CoCoRaHS slide shows

Role of the SKYWARN Spotter 

CoCoRaHS videos

SKYWARN Spotter Convective Basics 

Wx Talks Webinars

 

Additional Weather Spotter Resources


Storm Prediction Center - latest outlook and watches for severe weather

Weather Acronyms & Abbreviations 

Weather Spotter's Field Guide  
 

Sky Watcher Chart 

 

Jetstream - NWS Cloud Chart