Spotternetwork Reporting (the Good and Bad)

Feb 19, 2007
Austin, Texas
Spotters and Chasers, We made it to the 2019 severe weather season. Time to remind everyone what makes a good or bad severe weather report? Severe Weather reports include Winds, Wall Clouds, Tornados, and Hail. All Severe Weather reports submitted should be actual, confirmed, severe weather events you are seeing real time. Add the distance, and direction, from your position in the narrative. Also add any other information to the narrative when you make the report. Storm reports are events you are seeing at the moment they are happening. These quality reports provide real time ground truth to the NWS that may assist in issuing storm related weather warnings. Offices of emergency management may use the reports to alert or respond first responders. Delayed reports, those over a couple minutes later, may still add value, but note that the report is “delayed” in the narrative. Storm reports over a couple minutes are no longer valid and should not be reported. Storm Damage should be reported as OTHER and provide a narrative of the damage you are witnessing.

What makes a BAD REPORT? = If you are not seeing the event with you own eyes at the moment it is happening, then do not report it. Reporting “Probable”, “Suspected”, “Possible”, Etc, is a BAD report. All report narratives should be directly relating to the topic you are reporting on. Don't pass on information other than related to the topic of the report.

When the Quality Control reviewers review your reports, this is what we look for. When 4 reviewers agree it is a bad report, the spotter is required to retake the online training before the spotters icon will work again. IF a spotter continues to make bad reports they face the possibility of being removed from the system.

Here are the basic spotternetwork reporting guidelines

Minimum Severe Reporting Criteria
- All tornado, wall cloud, etc
- All hail reports allowed
- Only wind speeds and/or gusts greater than 50 mph
- All severe hydro related events (flooding, flash flood, etc)
- All notable damage generated from a storm
- All winter reports, IF they have a significant impact
- All tropical reports, IF they have a significant impact

What is NOT allowed
- No test reports. Yes this means you!
- No relay reports. First hand reports only!
- No lightning reports
- No "sky is clear" reports
- No "storm is getting stronger/weaker" reports
- No fog reports
- No radar based reports. We have radar, too
- No reports of what you are hearing on scanner / ham radio / TV
- No rain measurements unless you believe it constitutes flood conditions.
Please use CoCoRaHS for precipitation reports!
- No snow measurements unless you believe it constitutes a dangerous situation
- No general information like "storm is crossing the Georgia border"

Randy Denzer, Spotternetwork Public Safety Director
Thanks for the info, Randy - I recall when SN reports were vetted for quality but I guess the time commitment to do this has got in the way - does it happen any more?

I also have a question about how folks sign up to SN these days - but I will ask in a separate thread.