SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters. The spotters are trained by local National Weather Service Forecast Offices on how to spot severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and flooding. In some parts of the country, spotters also report snowfall and ice accumulation.
Storm spotter networks provide an invaluable service to both the NWS and the public. Even the most advanced technology will often fail to detect severe weather occurring at or near the ground. The most effective warning service is provided only by maintaining a dynamic relationship with local spotter networks.
Emergency Management Agencies, local law enforcement agencies, and local spotter networks are deployed when severe weather approaches. Reports of severe weather are relayed via HAM radio networks, REACT citizens band and GMRS radios, or by phone to the local Weather Service office.
Forecasters use meteorological tools such as radar and satellite to help spotter networks determine where severe weather is most likely to occur. Reports received from the spotter network, in turn, help verify existing warnings or alert the NWS to the need for a warning, and serve to increase public awareness of the imminent weather.
For more information about local HAM Radio and Spotter Groups, visit the following links:
- AK-SAR-BEN Amateur Radio Club
- Ashland Amateur Radio Club
- Bellevue Amateur Radio Club
- Douglas County ARES
- Douglas County Emergency Management Agency
- Elkhorn Valley Amateur Radio Club
- Heartland DX Association
- Heartland REACT
- Iowa Emergency Management
- Lincoln Amateur Radio Club
- Nebraska Emergency Management
- Pioneer Amateur Radio Club
- Region 5/6 Emergency Management
- Sarpy County ARES
- Sarpy County Emergency Management
- Strategic Air Command Memorial ARC
- REACT International
- National SKYWARN Web Page
Schedule of Spotter classes offered by the NWS Omaha/Valley office