SKYWARN is a voluntary program developed by the National Weather Service where volunteers serve as storm spotters for the National Weather Service and local emergency management programs. Keeping their eyes on the sky, volunteers serve as the eyes and ears for the whole community. Storm spotters come from all walks of life but they all have generally two things in common - an interest in the weather and an interest in serving their community. The goal of SKYWARN is to improve the warning program by delivering timely severe weather warnings.
SKYWARN is a loosely knit organization. Training in severe storm identification comes from the National Weather Service. Often, another organization, such as emergency management, law enforcement, fire departments or rescue squads, or amateur radio groups, is the backbone of the SKYWARN effort in a particular community.
The National Weather Service needs real time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain, and tornado development, in order to effectively warn the public. Even as new technology allows the National Weather Service to issue warnings with more lead time, spotters will always be needed as links between radar indications of severe weather and ground truth information.
If you are interested in becoming a Severe Storm Spotter and want to receive SkyWarn training, contact your local parish/county emergency management office or contact our Warning Coordination Meteorologist, at the National Weather Service Office in Slidell at 985-649-0357.