National Weather Service Spotter Program
SKYWARN is the National Weather Service’s (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.

View the New Hampshire Skywarn Operations Guide (PDF format, right click to download)

Sample Skywarn Operator Log (PDF format, right click to download)


Weather Conditions and Forecasts

NWS Forecast Offices Taunton website Gray website
Interactive Weather Information NH Weather Forecasts and Warnings MA Weather Forecasts and Warnings
VT Weather Forecasts and Warnings ME Weather Forecasts and Warnings
Radar Taunton Radar Gray Radar
Forecast Discussions Taunton Technical Forecast Discussions Gray Technical Forecast Discussions

Storm Prediction Center and National Weather Service Products

Convective Outlooks Probability of Lightning - 3 hour outlook
Lightning Map Mesoscale Discussions
NWS Threat Assessment Experimental 0-3hour Convective Weather
FIPS Codes for Counties in NH Hydometeorlogical Prediction Center

Skywarn Information

NWS Taunton Skywarn Program NWS Gray Skywarn Program
NWS Taunton ARES/SKYWARN Program Criteria for Watches, Warnings and Advisories
Hillsborough County Skywarn On-line training

Other Links of Interest

National SKYWARN Home Page SKYWARN / EOC Management Software
The National Hurricane Watch Net NWS Lightning Safety
Recent Earthquakes in the North East

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Last updated - 05/04/2004