St. Louis County R.A.C.E.S. and SKYWARN
"Taking the County by storm."
A weather observer (spotter) is a community volunteer who watches the skies from a safe location before and during storms and reports weather defined as “severe”. Anyone can be a weather observer; no special equipment is required. Severe weather observation training (SKYWARN training) is provided by St. Louis County in the spring and fall of each year. This specialized training, free of charge, is required to be certified and knowledgeable as a trained weather observer. It is not difficult to grasp and is very informative.
During thunderstorms, many well-meaning individuals think they see “severe weather” and make reports to the National Weather Service or their local law enforcement authority. These reports are frequently inaccurate. Reports from trained weather observers are taken seriously as these individuals have specialized training, which should be renewed every other year. SKYWARN training teaches individuals what is, and what is not severe weather. Also provided is training in how, when, and where to report and how to do so safely.
St. Louis County SKYWARN Training is often more comprehensive than generic spotter training offered in other areas… it is localized, certification as well as useful handout material is provided. All are welcome including those from other areas, regions, and states.
St. Louis County does not encourage or condone the chasing of tornadoes. While some pursue this occupation, it is dangerous and should be left to those with the unique skills required. St. Louis County does not encourage traveling about after severe weather looking for things to report—stay home and stay safe! We stress safety, teach weather safety, and want safety to be your first goal when severe weather is in the area.
There is no charge to be a SKYWARN weather observer. Training is free. There is no prior registration required. There are no dues, no meetings, no board members, no officers, no schedules, and no obligations. If you are in the area of severe weather and have a report, it is welcomed. If you do not experience or see any, that is fine also. We know you are out there and your efforts and observations are greatly appreciated.
During severe weather watches and warnings, Lead Operators monitor amateur radio channels to provide severe weather information and intercept severe weather reports. Trained observers who are licensed amateur radio operators are invited to report using this method. All may monitor these channels for current weather information, even if not a licensed operator. Please restrict reports to severe weather so the channel remains available for reports. Please follow the directions of the Lead Operator.
SKYWARN severe weather observation is a valuable volunteer community service! We cannot prevent severe weather, but with quality reports from trained observers, we can enhance warning times and save lives!