The effects of severe weather are felt every year by
many Americans. To obtain critical weather information,
NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S.
Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program
with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These
volunteers help keep their local communities safe
by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather
to the National Weather Service.
Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information
for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility
of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe
local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms,
5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across
the United States. These events threatened lives and
Since the program started in the 1970s, the information
provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar
technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled
NWS to issue more timely and
accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms
and flash floods.
SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens
who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe
weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that
their efforts have given communities the precious gift
of time--seconds and minutes that can help save
Who is Eligible?
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service
and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join
the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers
include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS
workers, public utility workers and other concerned private
citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools,
churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility
for protecting others are also encouraged to become a
How Can I Get Involved?
has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with
a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible
for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local
area. Find a class in your area: Training
is free and typically last about 2 hours. You'll learn:
- Basics of thunderstorm development
- Fundamentals of storm
potential severe weather features
- Information to report
- How to report information
- Basic severe weather
SKYWARN® is a registered trademark of NOAA's National Weather Service. Rules for the usage of the SKYWARN® name and logo are available here.