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October 20, 2017

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 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 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 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 Questions about classes and training can be send to


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.

My Account

You must be a trained Metro Skywarn spotter to log in to this Website. Use your amateur radio call sign as your username. If you do not have an amateur radio call sign, your username is MSW####, where the # is your MSW ID.

Secret Key is a field for two-factor authentication. If you have not configured two-factor authentication in your profile, you may leave the secret key blank.

New Spotters: Your account will be created shortly after you attend class. If you provided a valid email address on your class roster, you will receive an email when your instructor records your class attendance and creates your account.

NWS Skywatchers are not able to log into this website.

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  • Mon 2 Oct 18:19 Spotters No Longer Needed @ 18:08 Per NWS recommendation, Metro Skywarn is not requested to activate at this time. There is no imminent threat of severe weather currently. If you have a reportable condition, report it using alternative means of communication meaning via the internet or phone.
  • Mon 2 Oct 13:33 Outlook Flash Flood Watch @ 12:50 There is a low chance that Skywarn may activate early this evening-overnight. The lower possibility of Skywarn Activation later on this evening is due to a isolated risk of marginally severe weather for our forecast area today/tonight. Primary threat for the metro is,
  • Fwd: AERO Training Opportunities
    This email contains graphics, so if you don't see them, view it in your browser Association of Emergency Radio Org. AERO Training Opportunities Thank you for her service to Metro Skywarn as a spotter. You serve as the eyes of the National Weather Service for severe weather for your

Contact Metro Skywarn Help

Please contact Metro Skywarn with any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding the Website, information presented here, or about training and education outreach. This form is not for storm reports! To make an online storm report, visit the NWS.

Someone will get back to you soon.

You can also email or write us at:

Metro Skywarn
PO Box 240742
Saint Paul, MN 55124 USA

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