Weather spotter volunteers are able to help their community and surrounding communities by reporting to NWS thunderstorms, hail, heavy rainfall, strong winds, heavy snow, freezing rain, flooding, etc. As a weather spotter it is necessary that you are available to receive a call from the NWS, in the event we feel that something unexpected is happening in your area or to ask further questions on a report that you already gave to us.
In order to become an official NWS spotter, you receive free certified training conducted by the NWS. The training provides all spotters with a common “weather language” to identify and describe weather events and ice and snow conditions. It is critical that each spotter describes the same weather in the same way. This allows NWS to incorporate your reports directly into their forecasting and warning system. The training is about a 2 hour slide and video presentation, with additional time for questions. If you are unable to travel to a training site, you can view an online PowerPoint presentation and take a quiz to become certified.
Our weather spotter program is managed by the three Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) in Alaska. Each office will provide training opportunites, register you as a spotter, and receive your reports. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer spotter, click on the link for the office responsible the area for which you will be reporting. We look forward to talking with you.
- If you are in Interior Alaska, Western Alaska north of Scammon Bay, Northwest Alaska, or North Slope, click on
the Fairbanks WFO link.
- If you are in Southcentral or Southwest Alaska, or Aleutians, click on
the Anchorage WFO link.
- If you are in Southeast Alaska, click on
the Juneau WFO link.
The spotter program depends on reliable and objective reports so that affected communities have the correct information to make their weather-related decisions. For example, when snowfall reports are inflated or hail sizes are exaggerated, communities can make the wrong decisions, which can result in negative consequences. With reliable reports, you are assisting your community and region with improved weather reporting and ultimately improved forecasting that can help save lives.
|Weather Information to Report
- Severe Weather
- Thunderstorms with strong wind, large hail, or heavy rain.
- Funnel Clouds
- Coastal flooding and erosion
- Urban and/or small stream flooding
- Winter Weather
- Freezing Rain
- Heavy Snow
Also report any weather event that is unusual for your community or that is important in protecting residents that are out traveling, hunting, or fishing.
When making a report, include the following information:
- Your name and/or spotter ID
- Location and time of event
- What you saw and any damage witnessed