Skywarn Weather Spotting
Northern Indiana Skywarn Page:
This page includes spotter resources, training links, spotter reference documentation. I recommend bookmarking and reviewing annually, more frequently leading up to significant weather events. There are three sections
• Realtime Weather
Real time weather information including forecasts, hazardous weather outlook, and Storm Prediction Center outlooks. Links to NWS social media are also provided. - being aware of what to expect before the weather turns!
• Training and Reference
Training provided by other sources including MetEd and spotternetwork.org, also includes other handy references for spotters regarding hail size chart, Beaufort wind chart, local area severe weather climatology, and more.
• Reporting Procedures
How to make a spotter report and sources that can be used to make a spotter report.
The NWS Northern Indiana does NOT issue spotter numbers. We have found that properly trained spotters report in the proper format (TEL Method - Time Event Location) and the spotter numbers only cause confusion during already stressful and chaotic events.
We currently maintain a list of over 4000 spotters. The list is updated annually to remove spotters who have not attended training in the past three years and to remove inactive spotters. That being said, we rarely (if ever) use this list for anything other than maintaining approximate locations and contacts, should the need arise. During active weather we DO NOT actively cross reference the spotter list when we receive a report. We have found that properly trained spotters will use the TEL method (Time, Event Location.) Using the TEL method sets trained spotters apart from untrained spotters - and we can tell from the report if a person is trained or not.
We do not have the space, time, or resources to maintain certificates of training. We ask that spotters maintain copies for your records. Additionally, we do not offer 'advanced' spotter training. In reality, radar operations and interpretation are unnecessary for spotters. This stance is unpopular in the spotter/chaser community - but the NWS mission is to save lives, minimize losses, and help public officials make weather related decisions. The NWS does not have the responsibility, nor the resources to provide hundreds of hours of meteorological training related to the operation and interpretation of radar, computer models, upper air soundings, atmospheric parameterization, numerical modeling, etc. There are many courses and colleges that offer this type of education, and I would encourage reviewing the handful of recommended baseline courses on the NWS Northern Indiana Skywarn Page.
Where to go from here:
• what does a good report look like and are you ready to report to the NWS?
• What to report to the NWS and what methods work best for given events?
• What tools are you able to use to reach the NWS?
Find a link to most of the reporting tools on the IWX Skywarn Page.
• Do you have redundant communications?
Amateur Radio, cell phone, land line, internet
• Does your amateur radio club have a procedure for net control operations that includes NWSChat Weather Liaisons?
We work with the Net Control operators to gain access to NWSChat for the purpose of monitoring and reporting to the NWS directly.
• Do you have access to social media and regularly monitor the NWS Facebook and/or Twitter accounts?
Facebook and/or Twitter and bookmark our webpage and YouTube channel
• Do you have the toll-free number saved and ready for reporting?
This is only provided during our LIVE training sessions (virtual AND/OR in-person)
• Have you attended the Fall AND Spring spotter training sessions (virtual)?
• Have you reviewed the online training from MetEd and/or Spotter Network - (find these on the IWX Skywarn Page)?
Coordinating with Local EMA:
• Have you worked with the Local EMA office to assure you are aware of other local operational requirements and expectations?