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 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 for the National Weather Service and want to receive SKYWARN training, contact your local county emergency management agency or contact our Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Jeff Garmon, at 251-633-6443 extension 223.
Related SKYWARN Links
- Updated for Fall 2012! Local SKYWARN Training Schedule
- SkyWarn Spotter's Field Guide (26.58 MB)
- SkyWarn Online Training Modules by COMET - MetEd
- 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