SKYWARN is a voluntary program developed by each National Weather Service (NWS) Office where volunteers serve as storm spotters for the NWS 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 training in severe storm identification comes from our office, NWS Mobile/Pensacola. 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.
NWS Mobile/Pensacola 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 NWS Mobile/Pensacola to issue warnings with more lead time, spotters will ALWAYS be needed as a link between radar indications of severe weather and ground truth information!
If you are interested in becoming a storm spotter for National Weather Service Mobile/Pensacola and want to receive SKYWARN training, here are your contact points:
- Local county Emergency Management Agency
- NWS Meteorologists, Morgan Barry (morgan.barry @ noaa.gov) or
Don Shepherd (don.shepherd @ noaa.gov)
Related SKYWARN Links:
- Updated for Spring 2014! Local SKYWARN Training Schedule
- SkyWarn Spotter's Field Guide (26.58 MB)
- SkyWarn Online Training Modules by COMET - MetEd
- NWS Jetstream - An Online School for Weather
- NOAA - NWS Thunderstorm Safety Booklet (13.9 MB)
- NOAA - NWS Lightning Safety Brochure (565.5 KB)
- NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Brochure (2.61 MB)
- NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio Transmitter Map