An important component of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Severe Thunderstorm Warning Service is a national network of volunteer Storm Spotters who provide "on-the-spot" information on damaging storms.
Spotters are community-minded people drawn from all walks of life including the fire & emergency services, educational institutions, rural industries and the general public. They report either on a freecall telephone number direct to our forecasting offices and/or by lodging report forms or cards. Spotters supplement the Bureau's existing network of weather stations and cooperative observers. The information they provide has a tremendous impact on the Bureau's services, allowing us to verify warnings, calibrate weather radars during events and improve our understanding of the frequency and distribution of these storms across Australia. There are currently over 2000 Storm Spotters active in Australia.
In the event of observing a severe thunderstorm or on hearing about damaging thunderstorms in their general area, spotters are requested to:
Phone the Bureau on a freecall number as soon as the storm has passed.
Fill in and post (free) a report form or card to the Bureau.
Reports take less than 5 minutes to complete. Spotters in rural areas may also assist by forwarding local newspaper clippings that we would not otherwise see in the metropolitan areas.
If you would like to join our spotter network, are 18 years of age or older and a resident of Australia, please print out and complete the Spotter Application Form (pdf) and post it to your local Bureau Regional Office. We will notify you as soon as possible on the success of your application.
The Bureau provides comprehensive training material to all new spotters, and there is further information, training material and a newsletter available online.