NWS personnel regularly conduct spotter training sessions at remote locations around the Phoenix
County Warning Area. Severe weather spotter training for new and existing volunteer spotters will
be conducted by the National Weather Service Phoenix Forecast Office at the times and locations
Free training classes are held periodically that teach people how to properly identify and report
significant weather phenomena and contribute to public safety. Even with sophisticated technology
like radar and satellites, we still need ground truth information from trained weather spotters
throughout the year. You will learn about how thunderstorms work, how to identify cloud features
associated with microbursts and tornadoes, visually estimate wind speeds, and how your reports tie
in to warnings and advisories issued by the National Weather Service. In addition, you will learn
about all of the services available from the National Weather Service. Reservations are not required
unless otherwise noted.
Schedule updated: Mon May 17 15:20:57 GMT 2010. Check back often for updates.
2011 Class Schedule Date City County Location Address Time Remarks/Registration [if needed] Instructor(s) Thu Mar 24 Gilbert Maricopa Gilbert Fire Dept Admin 85 E Civic Center Dr 7:00 pm Registration to Kim Yonda 480-503-6325 or E-Mail Gary Sat Mar 26 Glendale Maricopa Glendale Regional Public Safety Training Center 11550 W Glendale Ave 1:00 pm Registration to Veronica Steele 623-872-5090 or E-Mail Austin Sat Apr 2 Queen Creek Maricopa Queen Creek Library 22350 S Ellsworth Rd 10:00 am Registration to Jon Spezzacatena at 480-358-3028 or E-Mail TBD Thu Apr 7 Mesa Maricopa Mesa Utilities Bldg 640 N Mesa Dr 7:00 pm To Register send e-mail to Orion TBD Sat Apr 9 Globe Gila Gila County Emergency Services 5515 S Apache Ave 10:00 am Registration to Leana Asberry 928-402-8805 or E-Mail Austin Wed Apr 13 Peoria Maricopa Public Safety Admin Bldg 8351 W Cinnabar Ave 7:00 pm None Austin Thu Apr 14 Avondale Maricopa Avondale Fire Admin Bldg 1825 N 107th Ave 6:30 pm None Austin Tue Apr 19 Casa Grande Pinal Casa Grande Fire Training Facility 3305 N Piper Ave 7:00 pm None Ken or Gary Tue May 3 Chandler Maricopa Chandler Fire Dept HQ 151 E. Boston St 7:00 pm To Register send e-mail to: Chandler Austin Sat May 14 Surprise Maricopa Surprise Fire Dept 14250 W Statler Plaza Ste 101 10:00 am To Register send e-mail to: Austin Paul Tue May 17 Wickenburg Maricopa Wickenburg Fire Station 734 W Wickenburg Way 6:30 pm TBD Paul Sat May 21 Avondale Maricopa City Hall 1825 N 107th Ave 10:00 am ADVANCED CLASS *; To register send e-mail to: Austin TBD Tue Jun 7 Gilbert Maricopa Gilbert Fire Dept Admin 85 E Civic Center Dr 7:00 pm ADVANCED CLASS *Registration to Kim Yonda 480-503-6325 or E-Mail TBD
|2011 Class Schedule|
|Date||City||County||Location||Address||Time||Remarks/Registration [if needed]||Instructor(s)|
|Thu Mar 24||Gilbert||Maricopa||Gilbert Fire Dept Admin||85 E Civic Center Dr||7:00 pm||Registration to Kim Yonda 480-503-6325 or E-Mail||Gary|
|Sat Mar 26||Glendale||Maricopa||Glendale Regional Public Safety Training Center||11550 W Glendale Ave||1:00 pm||Registration to Veronica Steele 623-872-5090 or E-Mail||Austin|
|Sat Apr 2||Queen Creek||Maricopa||Queen Creek Library||22350 S Ellsworth Rd||10:00 am||Registration to Jon Spezzacatena at 480-358-3028 or E-Mail||TBD|
|Thu Apr 7||Mesa||Maricopa||Mesa Utilities Bldg||640 N Mesa Dr||7:00 pm||To Register send e-mail to Orion||TBD|
|Sat Apr 9||Globe||Gila||Gila County Emergency Services||5515 S Apache Ave||10:00 am||Registration to Leana Asberry 928-402-8805 or E-Mail||Austin|
|Wed Apr 13||Peoria||Maricopa||Public Safety Admin Bldg||8351 W Cinnabar Ave||7:00 pm||None||Austin|
|Thu Apr 14||Avondale||Maricopa||Avondale Fire Admin Bldg||1825 N 107th Ave||6:30 pm||None||Austin|
|Tue Apr 19||Casa Grande||Pinal||Casa Grande Fire Training Facility||3305 N Piper Ave||7:00 pm||None||Ken or Gary|
|Tue May 3||Chandler||Maricopa||Chandler Fire Dept HQ||151 E. Boston St||7:00 pm||To Register send e-mail to: Chandler||Austin|
|Sat May 14||Surprise||Maricopa||Surprise Fire Dept||14250 W Statler Plaza Ste 101||10:00 am||To Register send e-mail to: Austin||Paul|
|Tue May 17||Wickenburg||Maricopa||Wickenburg Fire Station||734 W Wickenburg Way||6:30 pm||TBD||Paul|
|Sat May 21||Avondale||Maricopa||City Hall||1825 N 107th Ave||10:00 am||ADVANCED CLASS *; To register send e-mail to: Austin||TBD|
|Tue Jun 7||Gilbert||Maricopa||Gilbert Fire Dept Admin||85 E Civic Center Dr||7:00 pm||ADVANCED CLASS *Registration to Kim Yonda 480-503-6325 or E-Mail||TBD|
The training classes will prepare the volunteer spotter to identify the development stages of severe
thunderstorms, as well as downbursts, desert flash flooding, and tornadoes. The observed information
is relayed to the NWS via telephone or amateur radio. The NWS uses the information in severe
weather warnings and statements, that ultimately save lives and protect property.
Adult volunteers are community spirited individuals, who understand that they play an essential role
in providing storm information to the National Weather Service. Spotters are also hikers, sports and
outdoor enthusiasts, and those who routinely work outdoors.
If you have any questions, please contact Ken Waters at 602-275-0073 [option '5'] or by e-mail at the
NWS Phoenix Forecast Office.
We especially need new spotters who are year-round residents of the remote areas of our County
Warning Area (CWA), which includes Maricopa, Yuma, La Paz, Riverside, Imperial, northwest Pinal
, and southern Gila counties!
STORM SPOTTER PROGRAM
CRITERIA / SKYWARNTM TRAINING )
When significant, or severe weather occurs anywhere within the Phoenix County
Warning Area, the Weather Service turns to the SkywarnTM Spotter Network to obtain
timely and accurate reports. This network is comprised of individuals or groups,
generally associated with the following: 1) Emergency Service Organizations
(Fire, Police, etc), 2) Volunteer Organizations (HAM Radio, etc), 3) Individual Citizens,
4) Cooperative Observers.
Be sure to check out the National SkywarnTM Homepage to get the national perspective.
The Arizona SkywarnTM Net (ASN) welcomes trained spotters to check into our weekly
nets on these repeaters:
147.200 mhz -- each Tuesday at 8 pm
442.800/442.850 mhz -- each Wednesday at 8 pm
Storm spotters are specially trained by NWS personnel to be able to recognize and
report severe and unusual weather occurrences. When this occurs, they phone their
reports into the NWS office having warning responsibility for their county. Spotters in
Southern Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Northwest Pinal, Yuma, Imperial CA and Eastern
Riverside CA counties should contact the Phoenix forecast office. Spotters in Apache,
Coconino, Navajo, Northern Gila and Yavapai counties should call the Flagstaff office.
Spotters located in Southeast Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Graham and Greenlee
counties should contact the Tucson office. Finally, spotters in Mohave county should
call the Las Vegas Weather Service Office.
Spotters should tell personnel at the responsible office briefly WHAT they saw or are
seeing, WHERE they are or where they were when it was going on, WHEN it was
occurring and WHAT is/was it doing. They should also include their name, location
and their assigned spotter ID number.
SEVERE WEATHER SPOTTING - DESERT SOUTHWEST STYLE
The following are examples of weather phenomena that commonly lead to or depict
severe weather. In most cases, what is seen below occurs during the Monsoon, or the
summer thunderstorm season which typically runs from July 4 through September 15.
Downburst Hazards. Downburst winds can exceed 100 mph and are capable of doing the same damage as a weak to strong tornado. Rapidly shifting wind direction and changes in visibility pose problems to mobile spotters. (Photo by Alan Moller)
Overshooting Top. An overshooting top, an indicator of a potential severe thunderstorm, is evident as the "bubble" of cloud material rising above the rest of the storm. The area underneath the overshooting top is the area of strongest updraft, and is the preferred area for severe weather formation. (Photo courtesy of Bill Martin
Haboob. A haboob is a violent dust or sandstorm occurring on the southwest deserts of Arizona. It depicts the leading edge, or gust front, of an approaching storm, and wind speeds can exceed 60 mph!
Although tornadoes are rare during the Monsoon, they can and do occur. There is a
misconception that highway underpasses are a safe shelter for those caught in the
path of a tornado. This is not the case! The following presentation "Highway
Underpasses as Tornado Shelters" explains why this is so - this is an excellent
presentation. Check it out!
The following criteria are what spotters should look for when phoning in their reports.
They should always call the responsible Weather Service Office when any of the below
TORNADO (on the ground) or FUNNEL CLOUD (tail not touching the ground)
ROTATING WALL CLOUD
WIND (estimated or measured at 40 mph or more)
MICROBURST (visually identified)
RAINFALL (1/2 inch (.50) or more in 30 minutes)
FLOODING (of any kind)
DAMAGE and/or DEATHS and/or INJURIES due to the weather event
HAIL (any size diameter, or greater)
VISIBILITY (less than 1/2 mile due to fog, dust, blowing snow or ash)
SPOTTERS SHOULD NOT CALL NWS PERSONNEL WITH ROUTINE
WEATHER OR FOR FORECASTS!!
TRAININGPlease visit our Weather Spotter Training Page for scheduled classes.
Adult SKYWARNTM volunteers are community spirited individuals, who understand
that they play an essential role in providing storm information to the National Weather
Service. Spotters are also hikers, sports and outdoor enthusiasts, and those who
routinely work outdoors. Many volunteer spotters are amateur radio operators and
participate in a special amateur radio network during severe weather.
If you have any questions, please contact either Steve Sipple at 602-275-7002 ext 537,
or Ken Waters - 602-275-7002 ext 223 - at the NWS Phoenix Forecast Office. Please
call during business hours only - 7 am to 330 pm M-F. They will be happy to answer
them for you!
** We especially need new spotters in the remote areas of our County Warning
Area (CWA), which includes Maricopa, northwest Pinal, and southern Gila counties!
For all links on spotter programs goto search.usa.gov