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Regional Spotter Page:

    NWS Alaska Spotter Page

    The National Weather Service is looking for volunteer weather and river ice spotters in Alaska. Volunteer spotters support their community and region by providing the NWS with timely and accurate weather reports. These reports, when integrated with NWS Doppler Radar signatures, satellite,  and other data, can be critical in the issuance of warnings and advisories. This can save lives and protect property, which is the main mission of the NWS.

    River ice spotter reports help the NWS understand the condition of the ice and the threats to personal safety and flooding. The NWS Alaska-Pacific River Forecast Center monitors river conditions in Alaska and maintains a spotter program for water levels and ice conditions. Examples of ice reports of interest would include changes in ice conditions during freezeup, thin or open ice conditions during winter, and status of ice breakup process. Training materials and report links for providing river ice observations from the air or ground can be found on the River Watch web page.

    Weather spotter volunteers are able to help their community and surrounding communities by reporting to NWS thunderstorms, hail, heavy rainfall, strong winds, heavy snow, freezing rain, flooding, etc. As a weather spotter it is necessary that you are available to receive a call from the NWS, in the event we feel that something unexpected is happening in your area or to ask further questions on a report that you already gave to us.

    In order to become an official NWS spotter, you receive free certified training conducted by the NWS. The training provides all spotters with a common “weather language” to identify and describe weather events and ice and snow conditions. It is critical that each spotter describes the same weather in the same way. This allows NWS to incorporate your reports directly into their forecasting and warning system. The training is about a 2 hour slide and video presentation, with additional time for questions. If you are unable to travel to a training site, you can view an online PowerPoint presentation and take a quiz to become certified.

    Our weather spotter program is managed by the three Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) in Alaska. Each office will provide training opportunites, register you as a spotter, and receive your reports. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer spotter, click on the link for the office responsible the area for which you will be reporting. We look forward to talking with you.

    • If you are in Interior Alaska, Western Alaska north of Scammon Bay, Northwest Alaska, or North Slope, click on the Fairbanks WFO link.
    • If you are in Southcentral or Southwest Alaska, or Aleutians, click on the Anchorage WFO link.
    • If you are in Southeast Alaska, click on the Juneau WFO link.

    The spotter program depends on reliable and objective reports so that affected communities have the correct information to make their weather-related decisions. For example, when snowfall reports are inflated or hail sizes are exaggerated, communities can make the wrong decisions, which can result in negative consequences. With reliable reports, you are assisting your community and region with improved weather reporting and ultimately improved forecasting that can help save lives.

    SE Alaska
    AK Map
    Weather Information to Report

    1. Severe Weather
      1. Thunderstorms with strong wind, large hail, or heavy rain.
      2. Waterspouts
      3. Funnel Clouds

    2. Coastal flooding and erosion

    3. Urban and/or small stream flooding

    4. Winter Weather
      1. Freezing Rain
      2. Blizzards
      3. Heavy Snow

    Also report any weather event that is unusual for your community or that is important in protecting residents that are out traveling, hunting, or fishing.

    When making a report, include the following information:

    1. Your name and/or spotter ID
    2. Location and time of event
    3. What you saw and any damage witnessed

Alaska Region Headquarters
222 West 7th Avenue #23
Anchorage, AK 99513-7575
Voice: 1-907-271-5088
Fax: 1-907-271-3711
Recorded Forecast: 1-800-472-0391
Webmaster Email: ARH Webauthors
Page Modified: 03 Feb 2008 18:00 UTC
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