What Is Skywarn?
Skywarn is a program established by the National Weather Service in the 1970s with a goal of obtaining
critical weather information during times of severe weather. Skywarn works with local organizations and private citizens who
have a desire to serve their communities. Skywarn volunteers receive training in severe storm identification and evolution,
and when severe weather threatens, they become "storm spotters", reporting information in real-time to the local NWS office.
Storm spotters are the nation's first line of defense against severe weather, and they know that their efforts may ultimately
help to save lives. Their information, when combined with sophisticated technology such as doppler radar, satellite and lightning
displays, helps NWS meteorologists in their primary mission... the issuance of warnings and advisories for the protection
of life and property.
Skywarn classes are generally held in the spring of the year, starting in early March and lasting into
May. To become a member of a Skywarn organization in your area, contact your county emergency manager
or attend a spotter training class in your area for more information. When a schedule
for spotter training classes becomes available, information will be posted on this site.
The National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, MN makes extensive use of amateur radio in our spotter
operations. You can learn more about becoming an amateur radio operator from the ARRL. While amateur radio is used to efficiently convey life-threatening severe weather from the spotters
in the field to the meteorologists at the National Weather Service, we also have the eSpotter system available for sending in lower-priority or delayed reports.
Here is a link to a great arcticle on how to get started as a Skywarn spotter. It was written by the legendary, Dr.
Getting Started In Tornado & Thunderstorm Spotting (By Dr. Keith Brewster)