National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The National Weather Service relies on trained volunteers to supplement Doppler radar information on severe storms
and tornadoes. These dedicated individuals volunteer many hours of their time to learn about and detect severe weather.
Their valuable cooperation is important in the warning process. Weather reports from trained spotters are used along
with Doppler radar data to issue warnings of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods.

NOTE: This training schedule is subject to change. Please call the appropriate contact person for details, including
any last-minute changes or cancellation due to inclement weather etc. The spotter training program is coordinated
by Rick Shanklin, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS Paducah office - 270-744-6440 or
Ricky.Shanklin@noaa.gov.
 

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH SPOTTER PROGRAM:

  • Most spotter training is conducted in February and March, in preparation for peak severe weather season.
    A second spotter training season is conducted in September and October. There may be specialized webinar classes
    conducted at other times of the year.
  • These classes are free of charge and are open to anyone who has an interest in severe weather and/or public service.
    The objective of the training is to provide the knowledge to identify and report key severe weather features.
  • The classes contain photos/videos of recent violent tornadoes, storm damage, flash floods, hailstorms, and downbursts.
  • The staple "Spotter Concepts" class is about 2 hours in length. The "Elite Spotter Workshop" is 3 to 4 hours in length
    and is conducted in April.  All materials are provided, and a certificate of completion will be given at the end of each class.
  • Media outlets across the region are encouraged to announce classes in their coverage area.
  • For more details on spotter training classes in southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, southwest Indiana or western
    Kentucky
    , you may E-mail Rick Shanklin directly.


ABOUT SKYWARN SPOTTERS:

What is Skywarn?

Skywarn FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

National Skywarn Page
 

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH COUNTY WARNING AREA:

Each National Weather Service office across the U.S. issues forecasts and warnings for and provides weather services for a
particular area of responsibility, known as a County Warning Area or CWA.  The counties shown in the graphic below is our area
of responsibility or CWA and therefore our target audience for spotter training classes. If you are outside of this area, please visit
this link and click on your state to find the local NWS contact for your specific county. Some NWS offices may have other criteria
or requirements for you to complete before you can be an official Skywarn Spotter for their area.

SPOTTERS: HOW TO SUBMIT STORM REPORTS:

  • Use the Spotter Hotline (unlisted number provided during the Skywarn Spotter Class)
  • Use Twitter.  We can be reached at @NWSPaducah
  • Use Twitter hashtags: #tristatewx or #nwspah. (Certified spotters may also use #pahspotter)
  • Post it on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NWSPaducah
  • Send us an email with your report (*NOTE: This email account is not monitored during severe weather events
    - send only post event storm reports or pictures here
    ):  w-pah.webmaster@noaa.gov


SPOTTERS: WHAT TO REPORT:

Wind Damage (e.g. trees or tree limbs down, shingles off of buildings etc.)

Wind of 40 to 50 mph or greater

Hail (any size)

Wall Cloud

Funnel Cloud

Tornado

Flooding (water over roads, water rising out of banks of small creek and streams)

Snow or ice beginning to accumulate on roads or other surfaces 

Snowfall (about every 1 inch of accumulation)

Freezing Rain (about every 1/4 inch of accumulation and any related damage)


SPOTTERS: WEATHER ANALYSIS TOOLS:

SPOTTERS: ADDITIONAL TRAINING:

ELITE SPOTTER TRAINING:

Elite spotter training normally takes place in early April. See the schedule above for the latest classes scheduled.

The objective of the Elite Spotter Workshops is to develop well trained and safety conscious spotters. Spotters are highly
encouraged to have taken the "Skywarn Spotter Concepts Course" (or a basic spotter course) before attempting to partake
in the Elite Spotter Training.
 The workshops will be about 3 and 1/2 hours in length, and will include a "Basic Weather 101"
section, more detailed and advanced spotting concepts, radar concepts, safety measures, and hands on exercises. An
end of course exam will be given with a score of 70% required for passing the course and attaining a certificate.

For those wishing to take some basic spotter classes online, or take refresher courses on the material presented
by the NWS, MetEd offers an alternate way to achieve your training.
 MetEd is populated and maintained by the
COMET®Program, which is part of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's (UCAR's) Community Programs (UCP).

Role of Skywarn Spotter

Skywarn Spotter Convective Basics

Skywarn Spotter Training

Once you have completed this training, you may contact ricky.shanklin@noaa.gov or christine.wielgos@noaa.gov for instructions
on making spotter reports.
 

SPOTTERS - GUIDES FOR NWS SPOTTERS:
 

SPOTTERS - REFERENCE MATERIALS: