4 ways you can help forecasters when storms roll in

Become a citizen scientist and contribute to the science of our local weather

By Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you love the weather and are interested in participating in part of the science behind our local weather, the National Weather Service in Jacksonville offers four ways you can become a citizen scientist. You could contribute by making and reporting weather observations, alerting officials to severe weather you witness, or by contributing to NOAA research using an app. 

Become a Storm Spotter under the NWS SKYWARN Program

Do you know what to watch for when severe weather threatens? Help keep your community safe by volunteering to become a trained severe storm spotter for NOAA’s National Weather Service. Storm spotters report hazardous weather to the NWS, which aids the warning process. Volunteers are trained
by NWS meteorologists to identify and describe severe local storms, including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods. Interested? Visit the NWS SKYWARN Web site then contact your local NWS office to find out about free local and online training. Many offices require training, which typically is about two hours.

For more information about SKYWARN training and a list of upcoming classes, click here.

Become a NWS Cooperative Observer

The NWS Cooperative Observer Program is truly the nation’s weather observing network of, by and for the people. More than 8,700 volunteers take observations where they live, work, and play. The NWS depends on thousands of volunteer observers committed to taking observations at the same location for 10 or more years who report weather and climate information on a daily basis using the phone or Internet. NWS provides the training, equipment, and maintenance, while you provide daily data! Data from the program supports warnings, forecasts, and helps build a long-term weather history for an area. This program has existed since 1890 and is one of the few programs that measures snowfall and its water equivalent. 

Here's a map of sites in the program.

Use mPING to Report Precipitation

While mPING, or Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground project, may be oddly named, it is quite an app for your phone. Users can report the type of precipitation they are experiencing. No need to measure! Use the free mobile app to send reports anonymously. Reports are automatically recorded into a database, which improves weather computer models. The information is even used by road maintenance operations and the aviation industry to diagnose areas of icing. 

Check out the crowd sourced weather reporting app here.

Join the CoCORaHS Community

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network is a volunteer network of observers who measure precipitation from their backyards. Any age can volunteer. CoCoRaHS sells low cost equipment to help volunteers get started. Observers enter their observations onto a website. Data are used by a wide variety of users ranging from meteorologists and hydrologists to insurance adjusters and engineers.

Check out the CoCoRaHS network by clicking here.

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