Reporting Severe Weather

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Tornadoes, hail, strong winds, flooding...the National Weather Service is responsible for issuing warnings for many types of severe weather. NWS has many tools to help them anticipate and warn for these hazards. However, ground truth reports of actual weather events always have, and always will, depend on reports from human observers.

That is where the National Weather Service Storm Reporting comes in. By filling out a form found at the link below, you can be an important link in the weather forecast process.

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Assuming that there are no problems, your report will then be sent out to the world...and may be heard on NOAA Weather Radio, local radio and TV stations, and who knows, maybe even the Weather Channel!

One important note...the form requires that you input your phone number when you make a report. It is very important that the Weather Service has a way to verify the report and call you for additional information if necessary. You will NEVER be called for any purpose other than to verify a report. Also, NWS respects the importance of your privacy. Your phone number and any other personal information will NEVER leave the NWS forecast office.

When should you report?

When it is safe to do so, if you observe any of the following:

  • Tornado or funnel cloud
  • Strong winds (55-60 MPH or greater) or wind damage (structural damage or trees/power lines down)
  • Hail the size of pennies (3/4 inch diameter) or larger
  • Stream flooding, street flooding, or streams approaching bankfull
  • Snowfall of 3 inches or more

Remember, first ensure that you are safe.

So next time the weather is really nasty, don't just talk about the weather, do something about it! Give the National Weather Service a report and let them know what's happening in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a trained Skywarn spotter, please use the instructions given to you at your training session.

If you are interested in becoming a trained Skywarn spotter, contact the National Weather Service Forecast Office nearest you. Links to the Gray and Caribou Forecast Offices are listed below. Skywarn spotters receive special training, and agree to provide local weather data to the NWS on a regular basis.

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