Skywarn Training Classes

After a hiatus of almost a year the Baltimore/Washington National Weather Service office has announced two Skywarn Basics I classes for September.  On Monday September 16th at 7:00 P.M. a class will be held in Towson, MD.  On Wednesday September 25th a class will be held in Washington D.C.  As always with Skywarn classes offered through the Baltimore/Washington office the classes are free and open to the public, and preregistration is required.  Additional details on the classes are available at  Feel free to use the comments section of this post to arrange car pools to either of the training classes.

For those not familiar with Skywarn it is a program that allows the general public to supplement the radar and other remote observations the weather service collects with on the ground reports during times of severe weather.  In the Baltimore/Washington region there is active HAM participation in the Skywarn program, with the primary repeater being the 147.300 Bluemont, VA repeater, and a number of additional local repeaters designated for regional subnets.  There have been several occasions over the past six months when the National Weather Service activated Skywarn and was actively soliciting reports of local conditions during severe thunderstorms.  While any member of the public can become a Skywarn spotter volunteer amateur radio operators are especially valuable as they are able to transmit real time reports to the National Weather Service even when phone lines and cell phone systems are down or overloaded.  More information on HAM participation in Skywarn can be found at

While the National Weather Service will generally accept reports from any member of the public those from trained and registered Skywarn volunteers (also known as spotters) are given additional weight.  One example of this is that the weather service will not generally speaking issue a tornado warning based on a sighting of a funnel cloud unless the report comes from someone who is trained in recognizing severe weather which includes trained and registered Skywarn volunteers as well as certain officials with local emergency management agencies (the National Weather Service may also issue a warning based on radar indications without a local report).

One thought on “Skywarn Training Classes

  1. I’m registered to attend the Washington D.C. class, my plan is to drive down to the Shady Grove metro station and take Metro downtown to the training location. I’d guess that I’ll be passing through Frederick around 5:30 if anyone would want to carpool.

Comments are closed.