Reporting Severe Weather

Reporting severe weather is essential! Remember that each report, regardless of the method, must include the time and location of the event. Pictures tell a thousand words, but not when and where the weather occurred!

How to Report:

Online: Use our online weather reporting form! For reporting tornadoes, please use our 1-800-SKYWARN telephone line.

Email: - A great way to include pictures and/or video.

SMS Text Messaging: (515) 240-5515 - Send your phone pictures and text messages to this number with time, date, and location information. With pictures, include a bit of text describing the direction you are looking.

Telephone: 1 (800) SKYWARN - Must have been through severe weather spotter training and belong to a spotter network to use this line! Refer to materials received during spotter training.

Facebook: Visit our Facebook page and post a severe weather report to our wall.

Twitter - Send Twitter reports to the National Weather Service by including the #nwsdmx hashtag or send them directly to @NWSDesMoines.

Amateur Radio – The National Weather Service group amateur radio call-sign is KØDMX.

What to Report:

  • Tornadoes
    • Distance and direction the tornado is from your location
    • Direction and approximate speed the tornado is traveling
    • Any observed damage or debris cloud
  • Wall Clouds and Funnel Clouds
    • If either the wall cloud or funnel cloud rotating
    • How far the funnel cloud extends to the ground
    • Any debris or dust being lofted at the ground
  • Hail
    • Size of both the largest hail stone (estimated or measured) and the average hail size. Use this reference guide for help.
    • Any damage such as dented cars, damaged roofs, damaged crops, etc.
  • Damaging Winds
    • Strongest wind speed (estimated or measured). Use this reference guide to help.
    • Any damage such as downed trees or power lines, roof or walls damaged, etc.
  • Flash Flooding
    • Depth of the water (use references such as cars or buildings if needed)
    • Whether the water moving swiftly or slowly
    • Any damage such as roads or bridges washed out
  • Heavy Rainfall
    • Rainfall amount (measured preferred)
    • Time the heaviest rain fell
  • Snowfall and Ice Accumulation
    • Measured or estimated accumulation
    • Any damage or impacts such as downed power lines, trees, cars off road, etc.

Reporting Across Iowa:

Live in western or eastern Iowa? Click your location below to find out how to report severe weather. The light green shaded region is serviced by the NWS in Des Moines. Other color shades denote areas covered by neighboring offices.

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