How to Report

Be sure to provide the location where the event occurred (nearest city, county, and state) and the time that the event occurred in your report. If you are unsure of what you are seeing, express your uncertainty in your report.


Channel Name



Off Freq

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DC R1 W3KG BOOTHWYN 446.775 441.775 5 - Minus FM Tone 88.5 Hz
DD DW W3AEC LIMA 440.05625 445.05625 5 + Plus DV None

Alternative Methods

What to Report

  • Tornado, Funnel Cloud, or Wall Cloud.
  • Hail: Pea Sized or Greater.
  • Wind and Storm Damage: Power Lines, Structures, Trees.
  • Winds Measured/Estimated at 39mph or Greater.
  • Flooding: Evacuations, Roads Impassable, Streams or Rivers Overflowing Banks, Water Entering Homes, Water Rescues.
  • Heavy Rain: 1” or More
  • Winter Precipitation: Ice, Sleet, Snow at 1" or More per Hour or Total.
  • Death or severe injury caused by the weather

When to Report

Immediate, real-time reports are most helpful for warning operations, but delayed reports are also important, even days after an event. Never compromise your safety just to give us a report. If you are in danger, move to a safe location and then provide your report.

Information to Provide

When reporting, please provide the following information:

  • Name, Phone Number and Spotter ID.  Your Spotter ID:                            
  • City, county, and state, cross streets, and latitude and longitude (if known)
  • Date and time of the weather event
  • Type and description of weather observed (see What to Report and Observation Subtypes)
  • Photographs of measurement and/or damage, if possible.  Email pictures to

Reporting Details


Several atmospheric and man-made features may be mistaken for tornadoes or funnel clouds. Some of the most common are scud clouds, rain shafts, smoke, and communication towers.

To distinguish between a real tornado or funnel and something else, study the feature and answer the following questions:

  • Can I see it clearly?
  • Is the feature attached to a thunderstorm base?
  • Is the feature in the section of the storm where tornadoes/funnels typically develop (i.e., near the updraft)?
  • Is there organized rotation present within the feature?
  • If it appears to be a tornado, is there debris?


Report estimated or measured wind speed and wind damage. Wind speed estimation is difficult. A detailed description of moving objects or damage is often more useful.

Details to submit for tree damage include:

  • What is the height and diameter of the branch, limb or tree that was broken or blown down?
  • Was the tree healthy or decayed?
  • What type of tree was damaged, e.g., hardwood or softwood?

Details to submit for damage to structures:

  • Is the damage to a well-built structure or a weak outbuilding?
  • What is the main building material for the structure: wood, brick, metal, concrete, etc.?
  • If the structure is a mobile home, was it anchored down? 


Report the size of the largest stone and any damage.

To estimate size, compare hail to well known objects such as coins or balls, but not to marbles, or measure the hail with a ruler. 


Report flooded roadways, rivers and streams, giving the approximate water depth.

Other details to submit include:

  • Does the flooding consist of standing water or is it flowing?
  • Is the water level continuing to rise, staying steady, or falling?
  • Is the flooding occurring in a well known flood prone area?
  • Do you see any damage from the flooding? 

Common Measurements


Wind SpeedEffects
25-31 MPHLarge branches in motion
32-38 MPHWhole trees are in motion
39-54 MPHTwigs break off trees; wind impedes walking
55-72 MPHDamage to TV antennas; large branches break off trees
72-112 MPHSurfaces of roofs peeled off; windows broken; trailer homes overturned
113+ MPHRoofs blown from houses; large trees uprooted; train cars off tracks


Half Dollar1.25"
Ping Pong Ball1.50"
Golf Ball1.75"
Tennis Ball2.50"
Large Apple3.00"


  • Ideally, you want to measure snow on a snow board. You can make your own. It is just a clean board (about 2 X 3 feet). Place the board on the ground away from trees, buildings, fences etc as much in the open as possible. Allow snow to accumulate on top of it and measure the depth with a ruler.
  • Measuring on the ground with no snow board works if there is no grass or the grass is extremely short and compact to the ground. If not, don’t jam the ruler down too far so you don’t measure the dirt and grass with the snow.
  • Less accurate alternatives include measuring on a deck or patio. These surfaces are more likely to be warmer and melt some snow or be sheltered by the house etc, but it is a second choice.
  • Measuring on a driveway might work if the temperatures before the snow are well below freezing so that all the snow accumulates and does not melt. If your driveway is paved, just use a ruler. If gravel, do not jam the ruler into the gravel, just penetrate the snow until you hit stone.
  • If you are not using a snow board, you should sample several locations and take an average.
  • If windy conditions are causing drifting of snow, do not average the drifts. Measure the drifts separately.
  • Only report if a drift is much greater than the snowfall. For instance, the wind blows all but a trace of snow off your board, but you have a 3 foot drift against your house. Report drifts in feet (not inches).
  • Measure new snow to the nearest tenth of an inch. Measure snow depth to the nearest whole inch.