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Be a part of the SKYWARN Spotter Program with the National Weather Service!\

posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:45 AM by Michael A. Hawkes

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque, NM is currently recruiting SKYWARN Spotters in its County Warning and Forecast Area, which includes Socorro County. We need your help as a spotter. Two SKYWARN Spotter training classes have been scheduled in Socorro, NM. Anyone wishing to become a SKYWARN spotter can fulfill their training requirement by attending one of these two classes.

The SKYWARN classes are scheduled for Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at the Socorro County Annex Building located at 198 Neel Avenue in Socorro, NM. The first class is scheduled for 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm and the second class is scheduled for 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

To reserve a seat and sign-up to take one of the two classes, please contact Jerry Wheeler or Kathryn Cory at the Socorro County Emergency Management Office at 575-835-2029.

The SKYWARN Program is a public safety partnership between the National Weather Service (NWS), local emergency managers (EMs) and the general public. The NWS provides training to storm spotters while the EMs are more involved with the organization and logistical end of scheduling training and organizing the groups. The NWS works closely with emergency managers and officials across New Mexico to organize and schedule spotter training classes each year.

Typically, the NWS calls the local EM to activate area spotters when significant or widespread severe weather is expected. Once activated, spotter groups relay their reports through the EM or his designee to the NWS. This implies that spotters will have rapid two-way field communications (e.g. law enforcement, highway department workers, volunteer or professional fire fighters and local amateur radio operators working with amateur radio emergency services (ARES) groups). We also welcome individuals that wish to operate as independent SKYWARN participants and who can report from their home and/or while in the field.

The purpose of the SKYWARN Program is to train members of the general public to recognize and report severe weather to the NWS. Visual detection and confirmation of severe weather by SKYWARN spotters, in conjunction with advanced technology such as Doppler Radar, plays a key role in the process of warning the general public about impending severe weather. Warnings for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods which are issued by the NWS are communicated to local Emergency Managers who take appropriate actions to protect life and property of citizens in their jurisdictions.

SKYWARN spotters must be a full-time resident of New Mexico, be able to observe and report severe weather in their community, and attend a free 2 to 2.5-hour training class. To actively participate in the program it is recommended the spotter be at least 18 years of age or older. To learn more about the SKYWARN spotter program, please go to the Albuquerque NWS Forecast Office web site: for some great information