|National Weather Service Spotter
SKYWARN is the National Weather Services (NWS) nationwide program of trained 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 NWS Doppler Radar signatures and other data, can be critical in the issuance of severe weather warnings. This helps to save lives and protect property, which is the main mission of the NWS.
The SKYWARN program was formed in the early 1970's after major tornado outbreaks ravaged many areas. Each NWS Forecast Office runs its own SKYWARN program. In New Hampshire Cheshire and Hillsborough Counties are in the jurisdiction of the Boston Forecast Office which is located in Taunton, MA. The balance of the New Hampshire Counties are served by the Gray Forecast Office which is located in Gray ME.
In order to become an official NWS spotter you need to attend a training session that includes instruction about cloud features associated with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. It is critical that each weather spotter is able to accurately identify specific severe weather signatures. Criteria and procedures for reporting hail, wind, and other damage to the NWS is also discussed. SKYWARN volunteers also help the NWS by reporting on winter weather, flash flooding, coastal flooding, etc., according to established criteria. At the training sessions, weather spotters are asked to fill out a questionnaire which details hours of availability, access to rivers and streams, and the type of weather equipment owned by the spotter (if applicable).
Training sessions are held In New Hampshire by both the Boston and Gray Forecast Offices, typically in the late spring and early summer months. To keep informed of the latest training dates and locations you can listen for announcements on NOAA Weather Radio.
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Last updated - 05/04/2004