This course covers the basics of being a SKYWARN Spotter. The goal of the course is to provide baseline training for all spotters through multiple modules covering the procedures for spotting (including communication and spotter report criteria) and safety considerations for all hazards.
Be aware that many National Weather Service (NWS) offices require training in addition to this online course. For more information please click the OVERVIEW tab for a list of FAQs.
To indicate your desire to register as a SKYWARN Spotter with the NWS, click the checkbox that appears after you Enroll in the course.
For questions or more information about the SKYWARN Spotter program of the NWS, visit http://www.weather.gov/skywarn/.
Goals and Objectives
At the end of this course, learners should be able to:
- Describe the role of the SKYWARN Spotter
- Identify examples of proper safety while spotting during specific spotting scenarios
- Identify reportable events and criteria for reporting
- List the seven required pieces of information to communicate when making a spotter report
- Demonstrate how to make clear and succinct spotter reports
- Identify from a photo or video important visual features to report
The SKYWARN Spotter Training Course is being offered by the COMET® Program as part of its educational partnership with the NWS. Questions about the Spotter program need to be directed to your local Weather Forecast Office (WFO) and its Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM). For general information about the SKYWARN Spotter program, you can go to the following link: http://www.weather.gov/skywarn/
To locate your local WFO and WCM go to http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/contact.htm
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Who is this course for?
This course is designed for any individual who is interested in becoming a registered SKYWARN Spotter or learning more about the SKYWARN Spotter program.
- How does this course relate to the NWS SKYWARN Spotter program?
This course has been officially designated by the NWS as a nationally-uniform training course for all SKYWARN Spotters. This course can be taken as a substitute for or a supplement to the face-to-face SKYWARN Spotter training sessions held in every WFO. Check with your local WFO for any additional requirements or recommendations.
- How do I become a spotter?
Individuals wanting to become registered SKYWARN Spotters with the NWS can take either this online training course, a face-to-face training session led by your local NWS Office or Emergency Manager, or some combination of these.
- Who do I contact in my city/state to become a spotter?
You can use the map at this site to find the NWS contact person for your area. http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/contact.htm
- Why do I need to contact my local NWS if I already checked the box indicating my interest?
We will transmit your completion status to the NWS. However, this process will take up to a month so you still need to get in touch with your local NWS office to follow up and provide any additional information they may require.
- How much does this cost?
This course is free of charge to all individuals.
- How will my local NWS office know that I have taken the training?
Upon satisfactory completion of all the required modules in the course, you can call your local NWS office to notify them of your completion of the SKYWARN Spotter Training course through the COMET Program. Your record of completion will be shared with the NWS as long as you have enrolled in the course and supplied the necessary information. However, this process will take up to a month so you should also call your local NWS office.To find your local NWS office, go to http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/contact.htm.
- Can I take other modules on this site?
You are welcome to take additional modules from the MetEd website. They will not count for or against this course. Scores for other quizzes will be seen only by individuals you specify in your account settings. If you need to change or check your quiz score settings, go to https://www.meted.ucar.edu/account/index.php.
- What other modules would be good for me to take?
There are no prerequisite modules for this course. If you are interested in learning more about weather, climate, and related topics, go to the MetEd "Education and Training" tab to view the many different categories of modules available from the MetEd “Education & Training” page. You can sort the available modules by topic, skill (knowledge) level, title, or publication date. However, these modules will not count toward completion of this course.
- I finished my training some time ago, so why haven't I received my official certification?
Only certain NWS offices issue certificates for completion of the SKYWARN Spotter Training course. Even though you may not have a certificate, you can check with your local office to see if you are registered in their system. To contact your local NWS office, go to http://www.stormready.noaa.gov/contact.htm.
- Can I start "spotting" right now?
After satisfactory completion of the SKYWARN Spotter Training course, you should contact your local NWS office to notify them. They may ask for additional verification that you have passed the course. This can be done by sending them a copy of the course completion certificate you can obtain from MetEd.
- Do I still need to attend the class my local NWS teaches?
Supplemental local spotter training is at the discretion of your local NWS forecast office, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist and the Skywarn weather spotter focal point. There maybe supplemental training on additional local weather hazards, such heavy snow, ice storms, flooding, etc., and their reporting that you can only achieve through local spotter training. Please check your local NWS forecast office web site's Skywarn weather spotter web page for more information. You can access your local WFO's website by using the US map available at this site. Once you reach your local WFO Home Page, just look for the Skywarn weather spotter link in the menu.
- Who can see my quiz scores?
Only individuals you specify in your account settings can see your quiz scores. If you need to change or check your settings, go to https://www.meted.ucar.edu/account/index.php. Scores will not be shared with the NWS, but your e-mail address, name, and location will be shared once you pass the course if you choose to register as a SKYWARN Spotter
- Who do I contact if I am having technical difficulty with my registration or printing my certificate?
For all technical support questions regarding the use of the MetEd website or modules, please see our Registration and Support FAQs.
Your course certificate can be printed by logging into MetEd and navigate to My MetEd. Under the "Courses" heading, click on the "Completed" tab. You should see a blue "certificate" button toward the right. Clicking on that button should present you with a certificate.
If your printer is having difficulty printing the certificate, we will create a PDF version and e-mail it to you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and supply us with you user name and/or e-mail address for your account.
For answers to your questions about the Skywarn Program and how this course relates to it, as well as other logistical questions about the course, see thelist of Frequently Asked Questions available under the Overview tab.
- NWS SKYWARN Spotter Program page: http://www.weather.gov/skywarn
- SKYWARN Spotter community: http://skywarn.org
- NWS: Flood Safety Awareness
- NWS: Tornado/Thunderstorm Safety
- NWS: Lightning Safety Awareness
- American Red Cross: Flood Safety Checklist
- American Red Cross: Tornado Safety Checklist
- American Red Cross: Thunderstorm Safety Checklist
- 7 Key Components of a Spotter Report (Business Card)
- 7 Key Components of a Spotter Report Example
- Spotter Safety
- All Media Gallery
- Anvil Gallery
- Rain Shaft/Virga Gallery
- Updraft Gallery
- Storm Coloration Gallery
- Hail Size Gallery
- Look-alikes Gallery
- Wall Cloud Gallery
- Tornado Gallery
- Shelf Cloud Gallery
- Wind Speed Gallery
- Photo Quiz