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How to Report Severe Weather

There are two ways you can report severe weather to your local NWS forecast office. One is by calling them directly or you can report your severe weather to them by amateur radio. When you make a report you should give them the following information:

Who you are.

This is either done by telling the person at the NWS office the name of the spotter group you are a member of, or by telling them your spotter number.

Where the event is occurring.

Tell them the location such as the name of the town or county.

What event you saw or are witnessing.

Tornado, winds of 50 miles per hour or greater, hail, or flash flooding.

Movement of the storm.

The direction the storm is moving by estimating the movement of the storm and not by the motion of the small cloud elements underneath the body of the storm.

When you are making a report to NWS, you should remember that there is a certain criteria that must be met in order for a proper report to be filed with them.


In order for a storm to be classified as severe, the winds associated with it must be stronger then 58 miles per hour in either gusts or sustanded.


If the storm is severe and it contains hail, the hail has to be larger then 3/4 of an inch in diameter but all hail should be reported because larger hail could happen at a different location.

Tornado or funnel cloud.

No matter what, a funnel cloud or tornado MUST be reported so that proper warnings can be issued to save lives.

When you do report severe weather conditions, there are a few things that NWS doesn't need to know. They don't care to know about the lightning or the intenisty of the rain (unless there is flash flooding occurring). All thunderstorms, severe or not, contain both so it makes really no sense to report them.