A storm spotter may best be defined by what he/she is NOT. A spotter's role is not to try and be any of the following.
1. Meteorologist. We do not interpret radar data or make personal projections. We only relay information from the NWS exactly as they have given it and provide storm reports to the NWS exactly as they are reported.
2. Storm chaser. We protect ourselves and our family First and relay information regarding a storm. We do not seek out or "chase" storms.
3. First responder. After a storm has passed we stay out of the way of trained responders. Nothing in your spotter training involves search and rescue or post-storm activations.
4. A government agency. We assist the NWS and the County EMA but only in an informational aspect. We serve under a civilian assist doctrine.
What are SKYWARN® Storm Spotters
SKYWARN® storm spotters are an important group of volunteers that report severe weather, winter weather, and damage caused by weather to the National Weather Service. These reports aid the National Weather Service in accomplishing its mission of "protection of life and property" by providing forecasters essential information of what is actually going on at ground level. SKYWARN® spotters receive training from the National Weather Service which teaches weather safety, storm structure, and reportable criteria. These trainings are usually held in conjunction with local governments or local SKYWARN® groups.
Who are SKYWARN® Storm Spotters
Anyone can be a SKYWARN® Storm Spotter! Most of our spotters are usually amateur radio operators, emergency first responders, CERT members, and city and county workers, but members of the general public are also welcome to become spotters! Participation in SKYWARN® is completely voluntary.
In addition to SKYWARN® Storm Spotters, we are also looking for Snow Spotters to help specifically during winter weather events.
We serve as eyes and ears for the NWS and the Coweta County EMA. We provide real-time reports that we have seen with our own eyes to help confirm what has been radar indicated OR emergency situations that cannot be relayed through the 911 system. We take a passive role and provide information and we do NOT deploy to storm locations or go to the affected areas.