Weather Safety » SkywarnTM Spotters
2015 SKYWARNTM Spotter Training Schedule. We will update this page shortly once we confirm class dates.
Check back regularly for updates as we often add classes on short notice.
Sign Up and Additional Info
What is a Storm Spotter?
The SkywarnTM spotter program is a nationwide network of volunteers trained by the National Weather Service (NWS) to report significant weather. Anyone is welcome to participate, although we encourage that members be 18 years of age or older.
The NWS’s mission is to protect lives and property. When weather conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes are expected to develop, a severe thunderstorm or tornado WATCH is issued. A Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado WARNING is issued when severe weather has been reported by a SkywarnTM spotter or indicated by Doppler radar. SkywarnTM volunteers become the NWS’s and local Emergency Management’s eyes and ears, helping to provide better weather watch and warning services.
Who will activate SkywarnTM?
The NWS and/or the local emergency management authorities may activate the SkywarnTM net whenever there is a threat of severe weather or the NWS issues a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch. In this case information may be relayed through amateur radio repeaters. Localized events should be phoned directory to the NWS and local emergency management.
Where will SkywarnTM Observations be taken?
SkywarnTM reports are relayed from on the road, while at work, or at your home. It is important not to jeopardize your own safety while participating in SkywarnTM.
SkywarnTM and Amateur Radio Operators
HAM radio operators have a special place in the Skywarn program. NWS offices have HAM equipment on site. SkywarnTM nets run by the volunteer amateur radio net control operators allow for reports to be directly heard at National Weather Service offices. Some local HAM Radio and Emergency Management homepages for counties around the area:
Palm Beach County SKYWARNTM
Palm Beach County Emergency Management
Broward County Emergency Management
Miami Dade Emergency Management
Monroe County Emergency Management
Collier County SKYWARNTM
Collier County Emergency Management
Hendry County Web Site
Glades County Web Site
How to Become a SkywarnTM Storm Spotter
The Miami Weather Forecast Office (WFO) conducts several on-site training classes year-round across South Florida, with most of the classes concentrated in the February - May and September - November time frame. Please check the class schedule above for the latest classes. Check back at least once a week for updates to the schedule. Contact the appropriate person via email or phone (indicated in the column on the right-hand side of the schedule table) to sign up for the class.
WFO Miami conducts all formal training via on-site classes at the locations listed on the schedule. At this time we do not provide recognition as a spotter via the MetEd online classes, although we encourage completion of the online classes to gain a better understanding of the material covered in the on-site classes. Access to the online classes can be obtained here: https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id=23. Official registration and recognition via the on-site classes ensures that attendees gain a full appreciation and understanding of all local severe weather phenomena, as well as a more personalized, hands-on learning experience which is best achieved through on-site, instructor-led traning.
Online Reporting of Severe Weather
Click the following link to submit your reports to NWS Miami online!
Submit Online Report
Spotters, please remember to relay your reports to us when severe weather occurs.
Basic Reporting Procedures
Please remember to identify yourself as a trained spotter and give your ID number.
Always use the "Four Ws" when reporting:
- What it's doing
Report any strong winds (50 mph or greater), or any wind that produces damage.
Report any hail. Refer to hail size in comparison to coin (dime, nickel, penny, quarter). DO NOT mention "marble" size hail.
Report funnel clouds, wall clouds or tornadoes. Remember, rotation and persistence are the keys!!
Report damage (even well after the event).
For additional information on SkywarnTM, please write or phone the NWS, Monday through Friday 800 A.M. to 400 P.M.
National Weather Service
Robert Molleda (Warning Coordination Meteorologist)
11691 SW 17th Street
Miami, FL 33165