What is SKYWARN™?

In most years, thunderstorms, tornadoes and lightning cause hundreds of injuries and deaths and billions in property and crop damages.  To obtain critical weather information, the National Weather Service (NWS) established SKYWARN® with partner organizations. SKYWARN® is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the focus is reporting on severe local thunderstorms. In an average year, the United States experiences more than 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes.

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. SKYWARN® storm spotters form the nation's first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that your efforts have given your family and neighbors the precious gift of time--minutes that can help save lives.

Click the link below to be taken to the National Weather Service Pittsburgh landing page for all things weather.

Skywarn Spotter Training 

The National Weather Service requires that basic spotter training be attended once every three years to remain an active spotter. Training sessions are held throughout the year and alternate training materials are available for those unable to attend scheduled training. Please contact K3UKE for additional information. 

Skywarn Activation 

When a severe weather watch is declared, all Skywarn participants should monitor Beaver County's Skywarn repeater 146.850 and consider themselves on standby. If a developing weather situation is upgraded to a severe weather warning, a Skywarn net will be activated on 146.850. Should a problem arise with the primary repeater, the net will be diverted to 147.135.

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Skywarn Spotter Reports

How do I submit my spotter reports? 

There are a variety of ways to report weather to the NWS Pittsburgh office. Please click here to be directed to NWS reporting page for further information. Please remember that reporting should be limited to trained, active spotters.

 

Spotters may report severe weather observations to the NWS Pittsburgh at 1-800-242-0510.

The following criteria should be used in determining if an observation should be classified as severe-


•    Winds gusts in excess of 50 MPH
•    Lightning – more than 20 strikes per minute
•    Hail of any size
•    Flooding – water over roads, and in buildings
•    Property damage
•    Downed utility lines

 

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Skywarn Training Materials-

Winter Spotter Training 2021 - Slide deck from Skywarn Winter Spotter Presentation. Provided for reference. 

 

Basic Spotter Talk, NWS State College Fall 2021 - Slide deck from Skywarn basic spotter presentation. 

Upcoming Skywarn Training Sessions-

Pre-registration required. weather.gov/pbz/skywarn

December 6, 2022 - 1:00-3:00PM

BASIC SKYWARN Spotter Training -Online

 

December 15, 2022 - 7:00-9:00PM

BASIC SKYWARN Spotter Training -Online

Current Weather Watches and Warnings-

USGS Water Dashboard -