SKYWARN Information


What is SKYWARN?
  • Skywarn (formed in the early 1970s) is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of volunteer severe weather spotters. Skywarn volunteers support their local community and government by providing the NWS with timely and accurate severe weather reports. These reports, when integrated with modern NWS technology, are used to inform communities of approaching severe weather. The focus of Skywarn (and of the NWS) is save lives and property.

    Since the early 1990s, the WSR-88D (Doppler Weather Radar) has provided valuable information to forecasters...with better detection of severe storm phenomena and more accurate and timely warnings. However, even with the advance in technology..."ground truth" is still a very important part of the warning process. "Ground truth" is what is actually occurring. Is the storm tornadic? Is it producing large hail? How about damaging winds? Most of the "ground truth" is provided by trained storm spotters (through Skywarn)...or the "eyes of the NWS."
Who is Eligible?
  • SKYWARN is not an exclusive club. People involved in public service and who have good communication capabilities are encouraged to get involved.
How can I get involved?
  • Every year the National Weather Service in Wichita conducts spotter training sessions. Individuals are taught the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, what features to look for and where to find them. What and how to report information and basic severe weather safety are also covered. The class is a multi-media presentation which includes detailed video. The class typically takes around 1 1/2 hours. More information on Storm Spotter clases will be posted on our Spotter Talks Page when they become available.
  • For information on the weekly Amateur Radio net click here.
For any questions, feel free to send us an email. is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.