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Sign up to become a Skywarn Spotter

Mar 23, 2019 05:17AM ● By Editor
From the National Weather Service - March 23, 2019

Are you interested in weather?
Do you love thunderstorms?
Want to become an official weather spotter for our office?

Come to one of our FREE Skywarn Spotter Training Classes this spring! We'll be around the Northland over the next few weeks in a town near you to hold a free class covering thunderstorms, weather safety, and how you can become an official spotter for our office.

Classes will be held April 17 in Silver Bay and April 26 in Grand Marais.  Classes are open to all and last about two hours.

 The National Weather Service's SKYWARN® program provides FREE 2-hour training to volunteers in the community who help identify and report severe weather including large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.

Since the program began in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters has helped the National Weather Service issue timely and accurate warnings to protect lives and property. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time, the seconds and minutes which can help save lives.

Each Spring, National Weather Service offices across the country train volunteers within their area of responsibility. At the Duluth office, we are responsible for training across northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Our neighboring offices in Grand ForksMinneapolisLa CrosseGreen Bay, and Marquette offer training for their service areas.

We encourage anyone with an interest in weather to attend a SKYWARN® class in your community to become an official and trained weather spotter. No registration is required, just show up. Anyone who spends time outdoors, whether working, camping, fishing, golfing, or hiking will also benefit from a SKYWARN® class. Public safety personnel are also encouraged to attend SKYWARN® training. 

SKYWARN® training covers the following topics:

  • The mission of the National Weather Service and how SKYWARN® spotters play an important role in the warning process. 
  • Thunderstorm formation and the types of thunderstorms. We'll study the meteorological dynamics involved in thunderstorm production and what it takes for a storm to produce damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes. 
  • Visual indicators spotters can look for to identify possible severe weather. This includes types of clouds associated with specific areas of a thunderstorm, how to identify rotation and discriminate between strong and weak rotation, and discriminating between tornadoes and look-a-likes. 

Current SKYWARN® spotters are asked to attend training at least every 4 years in order to refresh their training.

Please visit for the full schedule and additional details. We look forward to seeing you there!
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