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January 21, 2018

Serving the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro Area

Q. Can I be spotter?

A. Yes! Spotting is open to everyone of all ages. However, you must be 14 years old to get an ID for reporting. We encourage young people to work with their parents.

 

Q. How do I become a spotter?

A. All you need to do is attend a Metro Skywarn class. See the Class Schedule for a class near you. Classes are generally four hours long, and are offered February through May. Classes are free, but donations are accepted.

 

Q. Do I need to be an amateur radio operator (HAM)?

A. To report through Metro Skywarn and receive a MSW ID Card, you need to be a licensed Amateur Radio Operator (or be getting your license soon). Non-HAMs may attend class, but are registered with the National Weather Service Skywatcher program. Skywatcher IDs are emailed to you in June by the NWS.

 

Q. I don't live in the 7-county Metro area. What can I do?

A. The National Weather Service offers classes for greater Minnesota residents within the County Warning Area (CWA). See the NWS Class Schedule for details.

 

Q. I don't live in the 7-county Metro area, but I work/play/worship in the Metro. What can I do?

A. You can attend a Metro Skywarn class, or work with your sponsoring Skywarn agency to make an agreement with Metro Skywarn. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance.

 

Q. Is there an online class and test I can take? Can I use a MetEd certificate?

A. At this time, there is no online alternative to our in-person training. Online classes and testing can help increase your knowledge of storms, but they are not a substitute for attending a class. Spotter Network offers an online class and quiz that provides reporting rights through their Website and mobile apps. Spotter Network reports are sent directly to the NWS. Spotter Network training and Metro Skywarn training are not interchangeable. 

 

Q. I am a trained Skywarn spotter from another location. Does my Skywarn training transfer to Metro Skywarn?

A. Generally, training does not transfer between Skywarn organizations. Training is coordinated independently by each Skywarn organization, and our training includes details specific to our radio operations. Metro Skywarn is a RACES amateur radio organization, which requires amateur radio operators to be registered with us to participate in formal severe weather nets. The four-digit MSW IDs we issue are not transferrable to another organization. If you have a spotter ID issued by a near-by NWS office, contact us and we'll connect you with the local NWS office to see if your training can transfer offices.

 

Q. I am an amateur radio operator, but I do not have a Metro Skywarn Spotter ID. Can I report during severe weather?

A. Metro Skywarn operates under RACES status when a formal net is active. FCC regulations require all stations be registered with a civil organization. If you do not have a MSW ID, you will not be able to report conditions during a formal net. If you have an emergency report, such as a tornado or other imminent threat to life and property, you can report as a station in distress.

 

Q. I just took my class. When do I get my Spotter ID?

A. There are two types of Skywarn Spotters: Amateur Radio Operators and Non-Radio Operators. Metro Skywarn Spotter IDs and ID cards are given to Amateur Radio Operators only, and are assigned at the end of your class. You will receive an ID card with your Spotter ID on it. MSW IDs are a four-digit number.

 

Q. I am not an Amateur Radio Operator. When do I get my ID?

A. Non-Radio Operators are given Skywatcher IDs from the National Weather Service. These are emailed to you in June directly by the NWS. You are still a Skywarn spotter—you just report directly to the NWS. Instructions on how to report will be emailed to you, along with your ID. You will be given a blank Skywatcher ID card with a space to fill in your Skywatcher ID when you receive the email from the NWS that contains your Skywatcher ID. Skywatcher IDs are not available to be distributed at your class. Skywatcher IDs are a combination of County-Letter-Number. Use the full combination when you make a report to the NWS.

 

Q. Can I register for the Website?

A. Most of the MetroSkywarn.org Website is open to the public. However, there are certain features for Metro Skywarn Spotters only. Only spotters with a four-digit Metro Skywarn Spotter ID can sign in to the Website. Due to privacy concerns and restrictions, MSW Website logins are not available for NWS Skywatchers.

 

Q. How do I register for the Website?

A. Your information is entered into the database by your instructor within a few weeks of your class. New spotters: you will receive an email notification when your account is created. If you previously had a MSW ID but have never logged into the site, try to use the "Forgot Login?" feature and check "Lost Password" using your call sign as the username, and the email address provided on the class roster. If your account is not found, use the contact form below, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help in locating your account.

 

Q. I have additional questions. Who do I ask?

A. You can use the contact form below, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Questions about classes and training can be send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Q. I have a MSW ID, am a radio operator, and there is a reportable condition. There is no active net. How do I report?

A. If you have a reportable condition, and there is no net available on any primary or secondary repeaters, visit our Alternate Reporting Methods page for more information.

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  • MSW Board Meeting
    The Metro Skywarn Board will be meeting Saturday January 13th at Maple Grove Fire Station #1 starting at 10:00. The address is 6880 Hemlock Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55369. Skywarn Spotters are invited to attend. Our space is limited, if you are interested in attending, please send an email to
  • January Social & May picnic
    Due to many of our partner agencies being tied up with Superbowl planning & emergency services, we have delayed our January social until later in 2018. Stay tuned for updates. Our picnic will be on May 19 (rain date = 20th) at the NWS. Thank you for all you do for our communities! Board of
  • Webite
    To all Metro Skywarn Spotters: You may have noticed the MetroSkywarn.org website is currently down. Please watch the following for updates: Email list: MSW...@googlegroups.com (announcements, training information, etc) Email list: MSWA...@googlegroups.com (activations) Facebook https://www.facebo
  • Special Weather Statement issued January 21 at 8:59AM CST by NWS
    ...Reduced Visibilities in Fog Continue This Morning... Areas of fog will persist into the late morning hours. The fog will be dense at times in some areas, with visibility reduced to as low as 1/4 mile. Gradual improvement is expected late this morning. If driving this morning, be alert for rapidly changing visibilities
  • Winter Storm Warning issued January 21 at 3:56AM CST until January 23 at 12:00AM CST by NWS
    ...Hazardous Travel Late This Evening Through Monday... .Travel will become hazardous late this evening through Monday evening as a strong winter storm impacts the area. Precipitation will initially fall as an icy wintry mix or snow, changing over to all snow by mid morning on Monday. Snow accumulations of 6 to locally 12 inches are expected, along with icing up to 2/10 of an
  • Winter Storm Warning issued January 21 at 3:56AM CST until January 23 at 12:00AM CST by NWS
    ...Hazardous Travel Late This Evening Through Monday... .Travel will become hazardous late this evening through Monday evening as a strong winter storm impacts the area. Precipitation will initially fall as an icy wintry mix or snow, changing over to all snow by mid morning on Monday. Snow accumulations of 6 to locally 12 inches are expected, along with icing up to 2/10 of an
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