Spotter Information

Reportable Criteria

The National Weather Service has a specific list of reportable events which they request from spotters. Please note that rainfall amounts and wind speeds are no longer reportable criteria. It is important that reports are timely and accurate. Our reports are used to verify radar images, and to facilitate the forecasters in issuing warnings for counties in Arkansas. The following is a list of events the NWS has requested from us.

Estimates ITALICIZED do NOT meet reporting criteria for active weather nets and should not be reported unless asked for.

Common Hail Report Sizes

  • Pea Size 1/4"
  • Dime Size (or Penny) 3/4"
  • Nickel Size 7/8"
  • Quarter Size 1"
  • Half Dollar Size 1-1/4
  • Golf Ball Size 1-3/4"
  • Baseball Size 2-3/4"

All significant Flooding should be reported

Estimating Wind Speed (Miles Per Hour)

  • 0 Smoke rises vertically
  • 1-3 Smoke drifts but windvanes do not move
  • 4-7 Wind felt on face, leaves rustle
  • 8-12 Small twigs in motion
  • 13-18 Dust raised, loose paper raised, small branches move
  • 19-24 Small leafy trees move, crested wavelets form on water
  • 25-31 Large branches in motion, whistling in wires
  • 32-38 Whole trees in motion, inconvenience felt walking against wind
  • 39-54 Twigs break off trees
  • 55-72 Damage to chimneys, pushes over shallow rooted trees
  • 72-112 Peels surface off roofs, windows broken, trailer homes overturned
  • 113-157 Roofs torn off houses, trailers destroyed, large trees snapped and uprooted
  • 158 & Up Severe damage, cars lifted off ground

Tornado Reporting

  • Tornado
  • Funnel Cloud-(with direction of travel)
  • Wall Cloud

Winter Weather

  • Precipitation type change (rain to sleet/freezing rain/snow)
  • Thunder, when accompanied by snow
  • 1/4" radial ice accretion (from twig outward; not circumference)
  • New snowfall - First 2 Inches, every 2-3 inches thereafter
  • Report any snow/sleet/freezing rain if not in NWS forecast!

Required Spotter Certifications

In order to participate in the NWA Skywarn program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a licensed Amateur Radio Operator of at least Technician Class
  • Have the ability to communicate on 2m/70cm frequencies from your vehicle
  • Have the ability to transmit you GPS location via APRS (APRS-IS is okay, but RF is preferred)
  • Complete the NWS training (when available). Click on the NWS Spotter Training page, and scroll down for the training schedule.
  • Complete the MetEd Spotter Training Course.

Helpful Information