We are currently seeking volunteers to be SKYWARN Weather Spotters for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Sacramento.
Weather Spotters act as the eyes of the National Weather Service, reporting severe weather to forecasters to improve warnings and forecasts.
We are especially interested in people who live at higher elevations (2000 feet and above) and in rural areas. These areas have few spotters,
while urban locations are generally well covered.
Spotter training classes are offered periodically at various locations in the area. The training is taught by National Weather Service forecasters and takes approximately 2 1/2 hours. The classes are generally offered on week-nights. We strongly encourage volunteers to attend these classes to become weather spotters.
The online Spotter Exam can be taken by those who wish to become weather spotters, when in-person training classes are not immediately available. It is recommended that volunteers take training classes when they are offered, for more comprehensive training in weather spotting. If you take the online exam, please review the educational resources first, including the Basic Spotter Guide. Additional information will be mailed after you pass the exam.
Spotter reports can be called in via our toll free number (available in spotter packages) and should be used for urgent information.
Less critical and timely information (for example, rainfall amounts less than half an inch, very small hail pellets) can be sent in via the web at:
Spotter Reporting Resources
Spotter Checklist (Guide of what to report when you call us)
Example of a good spotter report
Example of a poor spotter report
Web Reporting for Weather Spotters
Storm Report page
(for rainfall amounts less than half an inch, very small hail pellets and other less critical information)
Educational Resources for Weather Spotters
Spotter Training Information
Weather Spotter's Field Guide (pdf)
Download the NOAA Cloud Chart (pdf)
Hail Size Estimate
Weather Safety Rules
General Weather Terms
Online Weather Spotter Training (Coming Soon)
Take the Spotter Certification Exam
Severe Weather Awareness
SKYWARN Recognition Day