Amateur Radio and Storm Spotters

While the National Weather Service has the most sophisticated satellite and radar equipment to track severe storms, trained storm spotters play a critical role in verifying and relaying this information.

Each year, local National Weather Service (NWS) offices conduct storm spotter training classes for people interested in not only observing the weather, but reporting it back to the NWS.

Historically, amateur radio operators have been the base of storm spotters. Also known as ham radio, amateur radio can be used to relay critical weather information between the NWS and local communities when traditional forms of communications such as radio, TV, and phones become inoperable.

These storm spotter training classes teach an individual weather safety rules, types of National Weather Service forecast and warning products, and even how to anticipate severe weather by looking at storm clouds. Many of these classes are coordinated through a county or city emergency management office.

For more information, contact the warning coordination meteorologist at your local National Weather Service.