Amateur Radio Emergency Services Association (ARES)


“Skywarn®, the Skywarn® logo, NOAA logo® are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used with permission.”

Who is Eligible?

Anyone with access to a telephone or HAM radio can join the SKYWARN® program.  NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.

Local Certification Training

As the SKYWARN® certification last for three years, the local training should include both renewals and people who are new to the Skywarn program.   Your ID will have a county prefix and a number which will be unique for each person.   The Sumter County ID has a SUM prefix, Lake County has LAK, and Marion has MAR.

A NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist will visit and conduct local training in January each year.  Typically, an evening class will be conducted at the Bushnell EOC and a day class will be conducted at the Villages EOC.   Please return to this page as class dates will be established in the Fall and a contact person will be names so that you can reserve a seat.   Training is conducted at these locations and covers

  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report
  • How to report information
  • Basic severe weather safety
  • Information on other environmental hazards in this region
The classes are free and typically take about two hours. 
Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States.  These events threatened lives and property. 
SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the rank of citizens who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe weather.  There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time - seconds and minutes that can help save lives. 

Sumter SKYWARN®  Training Schedule (Posted Oct-Jan)

1. Eisenhower Recreation Center  (Villages, FL)         7:00 PM     November 17, 2016
2. The Villages EOC (Villages, FL) 1:00 PM    January 26, 2017

Online Training

The online training will not provide certification from a NWS office and the ID's are unique and controlled by each office.

SKYWARN® Spotter Training-Comet MetEd (free, self) (web)
Summer Severe Weather-Comet MedEd (free, self) (web)


Training Guides
Basic Spotter's Field Guide (pdf)
Advanced Spotter's Field Guide (pdf)
NOAA Severe Storm's Spotters Guide (web) 
A Comprehensive Glossary of Weather Terms (pdf)
Florida's Severe Weather Week Guide 2015 (pdf)


 Last Update:  10/13/2016    © Copyright Sumter County ARES. All Rights Reserved.