weather usually dominates southern Nevada, southeast
California, and northwest Arizona. But even
we are susceptible to severe weather. Thunderstorms
can produce flash flooding, damaging winds, hail
and even tornadoes. Winter storms can bring high
winds as well as heavy snow to the mountains.
To effectively warn for the protection of life
and property, the National Weather Service must
have a thorough handle on current weather conditions
throughout this region. Unfortunately,
long distances separate National Weather Service
offices. Although weather satellites and
new doppler weather radar use the latest technology
to provide a wealth of information to forecasters,
no tool has yet been developed that can replace
a human observation of the weather in a local
area at a specific time.
You can help! By alerting us to significant
weather events, you become the "eyes and
ears" of the National Weather Service in
your area and help us determine when and where
we need to issue warnings. Your participation
in the SKYWARNTM spotter program is entirely voluntary.
You are under no obligation and cannot be compensated.
However, your vigilance is valuable and greatly
appreciated! It helps others and could save lives.
We are authorized to officially certify only persons
residing in our County Warning Area (Clark, Nye,
Esmeralda, and Lincoln Counties in Nevada; Inyo
and San Bernardino Counties in California; Mohave
County in Arizona). If you are outside of our local forecast area and are interested in becoming a weather
spotter, please contact the local Skywarn representitive for your location. Local Contact
Role of the Weather 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.
2015 Skywarn Spotter Class Schedule
Most public training classes will be held between April and June and new classes will be added to the schedule when they are
finalized. If you are interested in having a talk for a specific group please contact
Andy Gorelow or Dan Berc
2015 SPOTTER CLASS SCHEDULE
The NWS in conjunction with UCAR has developed two training modules that will help current and future NWS Storm Spotters. The goal of the first
module called Role of the Skywarn Spotter is to provide baseline training for
all current and future spotters through multiple scenarios covering the procedures for spotting (including storm report criteria), safety
considerations for all hazards, and an overview of the national program and its history.
The goal of the second training module called Skywarn Spotter Convective Basics
will guide users to a basic understanding of convective storms. Through three different scenarios, you will cover reporting and proper
communication of local storm reports to the National Weather Service (NWS), personal safety during these events, and field identification of
convective storm hazards. After completing the scenarios, you will be given the opportunity to practice identifying storm features from a spectrum
For current spotters, these modules will help refresh your training and answer questions you may have. For prospective spotters this training will
help you understand what the role of the weather spotter is, and help you understand the basics of severe weather. Completion of these modules will
not make you a trained weather spotter for the NWS, but will help you when you take the training with your local NWS office. You will have register
for each of these courses through the website and there is no cost.
For inquiries regarding the NWS Las Vegas SKYWARNTM
Spotter program, please send an e-mail to:
Andy Gorelow, SKYWARNTM Spotter Coordinator.
Your interest in SKYWARNTM is greatly appreciated.
Weather Safety Information
Severe Weather Awareness
Safe Boating Weather Tips
New Weather Spotter's Field Guide. Updated June 2011
Basic spotters field guide
NOAA Cloud Chart
National Weather Service Las Vegas Spotter Guide
An introduction to Storm Observing and Reporting (Norman, OK)
Las Vegas Regional SKYWARNTM
How to Measure and Report Winter Precipitation
CoCoRaHS Community Precipitation Network