WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME A SKYWARN® SPOTTER?
• You must be able to observe the weather (no instruments required)
must have access to a telephone to call in reports or be able to report information
through an Amateur Radio Network.
• You must at least 14 years old to become a Spotter
I BECOME A SKYWARN® VOLUNTEER SPOTTER?
You are required to take the SKYWARN® Basics I class offered by the
National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office. This class
is a pre-requisite for all other SKYWARN® classes offered by the NWS
Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office. (It is also highly recommended that
you take this course every three to four years as a refresher.)
The Basics I class gives a general overview of the types of severe weather
experienced in the Middle Atlantic, the importance of the SKYWARN® Spotters,
how to report severe weather to your local NWS office and the role of Amateur
Radio in the Spotter Program. After taking the Basics I course, you will
be provided a spotter number via email with a printable spotter card attached.
Spotter classes are NOT taught at the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington
Office located in Sterling, Virginia. Classes are typically taught in cooperation
with County Emergency Management Officials at no cost. Other "optional" classes
are provided for our spotters to learn more about hurricanes, winter storms
ON-LINE SKYWARN® COURSES
National SKYWARN® courses are also offered online by COMET on their MetED
site (located here). These courses are also free, and can be of extra value
to you with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. However, the local information
on the multitude of weather threats we get in our region is missing. It is
because of this vital missing information that you will not be registered
into our spotter database or receive a spotter number until you take our
Basics I SKYWARN® class taught by one of our meteorologists from the
NWS Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office.
DO I REGISTER FOR A CLASS?
The NWS Sterling office is not responsible for registration for individual SKYWARN® classes. If you
need to register for a class, please contact the person listed on the
class announcement page (http://www.erh.noaa.gov/skywarn/classes.html).
If you have any questions, please email:
CAN MY ORGANIZATION HOST A SKYWARN® CLASS?
In a typical year, the NWS Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office teaches between
25 and 30 SKYWARN® classes. The classes are taught between September and
May. Most classes are arranged in coordination with County Emergency Management
Officials. Other classes can be taught in cooperation with the Red Cross, local
Universities or Amateur Radio Clubs.
To host a class the organization needs:
• At least 25 people in attendance.
• To open the class to the public if less than 50 people are registered.
• A facility that meets audio/visual requirements which include a projector
and a screen (or white wall) to project slides.