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The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City maintains a volunteer spotter network with over 400 people assisting our office. Members of this spotter network are trained to objectively observe and quantify potentially hazardous weather phenomenon and report their findings to the Salt Lake City Weather Service Office. Significant weather events in Utah and southwest Wyoming range from high winds, snow and blizzards, to hail and even tornadoes. The services our spotters provide in reporting these events are invaluable to our office. The Utah and Southwest Wyoming Storm Spotter Page is dedicated to giving our spotters online access to resources such as training guides and presentations, information about upcoming training sessions, our spotter newsletter, and more. Additionally, those who have a vested interest in weather can use this page to contact us, and begin the process of becoming an official storm spotter.


A weather spotter is a person who observes significant weather and relays the information to the National Weather Service (NWS) or appropriate local authority, based on the severity and immediate threat of the event observed.

Spotters provide an invaluable service to their communities and to the National Weather Service. The information they provide helps their community by assisting local public safety officials in making critical decisions aimed at protecting lives and property. During life-threatening weather events such as tornadoes and flash flooding, these real-time reports from weather spotters are used to help warn others in their community, as well as those neighboring communities which may be in harm's way.

Spotter reports also help National Weather Service forecasters in the critical decision making process of determining what storms pose a risk to lives and property. The National Weather Service uses these critical reports from storm spotters in combination with radar, satellite, and automated surface observations when issuing Severe Thunderstorm, Tornado, Flash Flood, Winter Storm, and other types of warnings. Your report becomes part of the warning decision making process, and is combined with radar data and other information and used by NWS forecasters to decide whether or not to:

  • Issue a new warning
  • Cancel an existing warning
  • Continue a warning
  • Issue a warning for the next county
  • Change the warning type (from severe thunderstorm to tornado, for example)

In addition to being used in the warning decision making process by National Weather Service forecasters, spotter reports also provide valuable information to people in the path of a potentially deadly storm. Ground truth reports from spotters help to give credibility to the warnings issued by the National Weather Service to those people who are in the path of a potentially damaging or life-threatening storm. This ground-truth information helps motivate people in harms way to take action to protect themselves and their property.

At times, the National Weather Service may call a spotter after a storm has passed, in order to inquire what conditions were like as the storm moved through. This information helps NWS forecasters train for the next big event. Of course, spotters are always encouraged to take the initiative and call the NWS office with their information.

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Weather Service
Salt Lake City Weather Forecast Office
2242 West North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

Tel: (801) 524-5133

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