Do I need to be Skywarn certified to use Spotter Network?

Haik P

Enthusiast
Aug 28, 2018
2
0
0
Tujunga, CA
Hello guys.

I was just wondering if Spotter Network allows anyone to register, pass their test, and start sending out reports?

Or do you need to be a certified skywarn spotter?

Wouldn’t the NWS just ignore most of these if they’re not skywarn certified? And how would they be able to verify if a report thru SN is from a certified skywarn member?

Thank you.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
6,942
468
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49
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
You do not need to be Skywarn certified. Since there is no Skywarn database - it doesn't really matter.

Since you have to take a test, SN knows you are more qualified than Skywarn spotters because Skywarn doesn't have a test.
 
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Reactions: Mike Thornton
Mar 8, 2016
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Bloomington, IL
As stated above, a Skywarn "certification" only requires attending a 2 hour course with no test, where Spotter Network requires you to pass their test before you can submit reports through the system. That said, every individual NWS WFO does things a little differently than others and will honor certain types of reporting over others.
 

Robert W

Enthusiast
Nov 26, 2018
2
6
1
East Leroy, Mi
As stated above, a Skywarn "certification" only requires attending a 2 hour course with no test, where Spotter Network requires you to pass their test before you can submit reports through the system. That said, every individual NWS WFO does things a little differently than others and will honor certain types of reporting over others.
Took my skywarn TEST and training through Meted.
 

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Ron Cross

Enthusiast
Apr 24, 2019
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1
Oklahoma
Meted has some good courses for sure. Spotter Network has some now as well. You can never have to much training and good info!
 
May 3, 2019
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Brandon, ms
Meted has some good courses for sure. Spotter Network has some now as well. You can never have to much training and good info!
Agree on never too much training.

Just be aware, videos can’t be viewed on the Spotter network quiz on iPad as I just signed up and took the test. Not sure how many questions are on the database but I had 2 questions asking about tornado formation based on video in question. Since I couldn’t view the videos, I skipped the question and my score was based on questions answered.

This problem was brought up in the past I think in this forum and even though it’s not noted on the spotter network quiz, at least anyone seeing this thread may be given a heads up to consider using a laptop or desktop that supports flash.
 
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Nate M.

Enthusiast
May 16, 2019
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40
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Neosho Mo
Agree on never too much training.

Just be aware, videos can’t be viewed on the Spotter network quiz on iPad as I just signed up and took the test. Not sure how many questions are on the database but I had 2 questions asking about tornado formation based on video in question. Since I couldn’t view the videos, I skipped the question and my score was based on questions answered.

This problem was brought up in the past I think in this forum and even though it’s not noted on the spotter network quiz, at least anyone seeing this thread may be given a heads up to consider using a laptop or desktop that supports flash.
Same thing happened to me with iPhone.
 

Ron Cross

Enthusiast
Apr 24, 2019
6
7
1
Oklahoma
As far as training, there's good sources, and plenty of videos . However there's nothing like getting experience in the field, and working with a good mentor.
 

Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
106
39
6
Pembroke, ON, Canada
@Robert W it all depends on where you take the SKYWARN course. By taking it through your local NWS WFO, there usually isn't an official "Test" that you have to take in order to get your certification. On the other hand, MetEd requires a test for all of their courses in order to successfully complete them, which is why you had to take a test. Also, in order to be an official SKYWARN spotter you usually need to register for a course that is provided by your local NWS WFO either in-class or online - taking the course through MetEd doesn't make you an official SKYWARN spotter unless you register with a WFO afterwards.

Now, I may be wrong as I'm not as familiar with the SKYWARN program as I am with the CANWARN program (Canada's equivalent to the SKYWARN program), so if somebody else could provide more insight into this that would be appreciated.
 

Ron Cross

Enthusiast
Apr 24, 2019
6
7
1
Oklahoma
Peter Potvin, most of the spotters that work with Emergency Management in some cities or counties are required to train with experienced spotters and to be ham radio operators, if they aren't part of the public services like police and fire. I've known people who took the advance Skywarn NWS program and couldn't tell the different from a scud cloud from funnel could. That's why training with some one experienced is best.
 
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Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
106
39
6
Pembroke, ON, Canada
Peter Potvin, most of the spotters that work with Emergency Management in some cities or counties are required to train with experienced spotters and to be ham radio operators, if they aren't part of the public services like police and fire. I've known people who took the advance Skywarn NWS program and couldn't tell the different from a scud cloud from funnel could. That's why training with some one experienced is best.
I get what you're referring to, Ron, but I was referring to the fact that in most cases only MetEd has a test after taking the SKYWARN course. As I said, I'm not as familiar with SKYWARN as I am CANWARN, so I may be wrong.

Thank you for your input, though. That is some great information to know.
 

Ron Cross

Enthusiast
Apr 24, 2019
6
7
1
Oklahoma
Peter Potvin, it's good they have the test at the end of the courses for sure. However, nothing is a better teacher than experience. A lot of folks have the "keyboard commando training." However seeing it in real life and learning is best. I've had the "training" too. I guess seeing the big picture in action sticks with you. Maybe that's part of it's living it. To me it's like watching tornado videos verses being in one... I was in the El Reno tornado of 2013. I remember the roar and the rushing wind, the debris flying away. Sticks with you...
 
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Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
106
39
6
Pembroke, ON, Canada
Experience always beats training, for sure. I've learned a lot by actually doing something instead of just learning about it - medical training is an example I always use. Learning something is always nice, but actually putting that knowledge to use is even better, especially in the field.
 
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J Holder

EF2
Mar 30, 2005
129
9
6
Osage city, KS
I've been spotting for close to 30 years now and the current NWS severe weather courses are pretty much a joke.

Most of them in my area are maybe an hour long now and delve more into how to navigate the local NWS website and how to submit a report than what to actually report as far as severe weather. Jon and Shawna Davies "Surviving the Storm" 30 minute Youtube video is more informative on actual weather than any of the last 10 NWS Spotter talks I've attended.
 
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Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
106
39
6
Pembroke, ON, Canada
@J Holder My CANWARN (Canadian equivalent to SKYWARN) class taught us the different resources to use and how to submit a report, BUT did teach us a little bit on what to report. After the course, they provided us with a couple of documents via email that list the specific criteria that we use to report and a list of books, websites, etc that we could use to strengthen our knowledge.

But I also agree with what @rdale has stated. Share that info with the NWS office that hosted the training so they know what they need to improve during the delivery of their courses. They should be teaching the actual spotting portion of the course. What's a Storm Spotting Course without the spotting portion?
 
Jan 6, 2019
79
29
6
Tyler
It's my local office.

Suffice it to say I haven't been impressed with the warning coordination from that office for a while now.
The local class here out of Shreveport was something like 2/2.5 hours long.
There is a pdf on NWS site of about 70+ pages that it covered.
Didn't really cover that much about the actual reporting, just what to report. The rest was all about weather and storm formation.
Then after class completed had to take the two tests online to get certificate.
 
Feb 20, 2018
12
1
1
Hampstead, NC
I have gone through training both in person and online for SkyWarn. In person did not require a test, however we did have a password-protected certificate for after the course was completed.

With MetED there was a test involved, one for each part of it (there were two parts - role of the spotter and storm spotting scenarios), and I have taken that course twice with the certificates to support that.

I am in progress of completing the course on spotter network to be able to access it, and I will admit that I am learning quite a bit that I have not in the past, but it is also a very good supplement to the training I already had.

So my answer is this: no it is not required. But it does help if you've already gone through training to at least have a basic understanding of what you are learning in the spotter network course.
 

Robert Wightman

Enthusiast
Sep 6, 2018
5
0
1
East Leroy, Mi 49051
Peter Potvin, most of the spotters that work with Emergency Management in some cities or counties are required to train with experienced spotters and to be ham radio operators, if they aren't part of the public services like police and fire. I've known people who took the advance Skywarn NWS program and couldn't tell the different from a scud cloud from funnel could. That's why training with some one experienced is best.
Using RadarScope, and looking at other spotters, I’m surprised more aren’t Ham Radio operators.
WD8RAW
 
Jan 6, 2019
79
29
6
Tyler
Using RadarScope, and looking at other spotters, I’m surprised more aren’t Ham Radio operators.
WD8RAW
Some may not have filled in that part.
If NWS wants to talk to you, they will call you by phone.
I suggest leaving phone num and some other items out of the top of the profile, but fill the bottom which NWS only has access to.