National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

What Does A Skywarn Spotter Report?

Call us when you observe:
(Storm Spotter Guide)

  • Tornado - All tornadoes, include their duration and direction of movement.
  • Funnel Cloud - All funnel clouds, watch for rotation. Include their duration and direction of movement.
  • Wall Cloud - All wall clouds, include their duration and direction of movement.
  • Hail - 1/2 inch in diameter and larger. Hail needs to be one inch (quarter-sized in diameter) to be considered severe. Always report the largest hailstone you have observed and describe in terms of common objects such as pennies, quarters, golf balls, softballs, etc. The size of the hailstone will always be described in terms of the diameter. Also report hail that is accumulating and covering the ground.
  • Near Continuous Cloud to Ground Lightning
  • Winds—All winds greater than 45 MPH
  • Heavy Rain—Falling at a rate of 1” per hour or greater (1/2” in 30 minutes) , or more than 1” per day in winter. Rapidly falling heavy rain may be a precursor to flash flooding.
  • Freezing Rain/Drizzle—Any measurable freezing rain. This is one of the most dangerous winter weather hazards!
  • Heavy snow—1” per hour or greater, or storm total 4” or more, or snow causing road closures. Any snowfall in Western Nevada Valleys.
  • Flooding - Any water flowing where it normally does not or rivers flowing above their banks.
  • Flash Flooding—Report rapid rises in creeks and streams. Flash flooding occurs very quickly, and generally is of short duration ( < 3 hours)
  • Low Visibility—Visibility less than 1/2 mile for any reason (fog, haze, blowing dust, blowing snow, etc.)
  • Any and All Weather Related Damage, Death, or Injury—If weather causes any damage, death, or injury.


When it is safe, please phone in your reports to help save a life!
Never assume someone has already called; all reports help!


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