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SKYWARN™ Reporting

Reporting Format

  • Identify yourself:
    • Provide your Spotter ID and your town/city and county
  • What have you seen:
    • Wall cloud, Tornado, large hail, flooding, etc
  • Where you saw it:
    • The direction and distance from where you saw it.
      • (example: 3 miles south of town)
  • When you saw it:
    • Make sure you remember exactly what time observation occurred
  • What was it doing:
    • Describe the storms direction and speed of travel, size and intensity, and destructiveness. (also include any amount of uncertainty as needed. (i.e., "funnel cloud; no debris visible at surface but too far away to be certain it is on the ground))"

Reporting Criteria

Critical Priority

  • Any tornado, waterspout, or funnel cloud
  • Wall cloud (especially if any rotation is seen)
  • Widespread wind damage
    • Trees, power lines, structural damage
  • Flash flooding
    • streams, creeks, rivers or dam breaks
    • severe street, car, or basement flooding
      • 1+ inches in an hour in urban areas
      • 2+ inches in 3 hours in urban areas
  • Any deaths or injury associated with hazardous weather
    • this information should NEVER be communicated over radio

High Priority

  • At least penny sized hail (0.75 inch)
  • Any thunderstorm wind gusts of 58 mph (50 knots) or greater
  • Poor-drainage urban flooding which makes roads impassable
    • Distinction between poor drainage flooding and overflowing streams is critical!
  • Snowfall: 1+" in an hour or less

Moderate Priority

  • Any size hail less than 0.75" in diameter (smaller than a penny)
  • Thunderstorm wind gusts of 40-57 mph or downed small tree branches
  • River or stream rises to near bank full
  • Rainfall
    • Event total
  • Snowfall
    • When accumulations reach 2", 4", and 6"
    • Event total
  • Ice jam locations
  • Freezing rain or freezing drizzle
  • Change in the type of precipitation (example: snow to rain)

We value your severe weather spotting and appreciate your timely reports. Reports can be made from any location: home, work, school, on the road, etc. However, we do request that you always put safety first. Do not risk injury to provide us with your information. Please relay your reports as soon as it is safe to do so.

REMEMBER...the first rule of severe weather spotting and emergency communications is to protect yourself. Insure your own safety first; then and only then, communicate your observation.

For more information on the Tri-state SKYWARN™ program:


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