Background of the Storm Spotter Network
The Bureau undertook to establish a national network of severe thunderstorm spotters in 1989, with the primary task of the storm spotter to report on severe weather caused by thunderstorms in their area. This followed the success of similar networks implemented by overseas weather agencies in countries such as Canada and the United States of America.
The Australian network now accounts for a large proportion of severe weather reports received by the Bureau and their timely information helps Bureau forecasters to prepare and update severe weather warnings. Storm spotters also have an impact on Australian research into severe thunderstorms by providing a better picture of the frequency and distribution of these violent storms. In some areas, spotters are also encouraged to report on other dangerous weather phenomena, for example widespread damaging winds.
Who are the Storm Spotters?
Storm spotters are volunteers recruited from the ranks of weather enthusiasts and public-minded people all across Australia. Thousands of people from all walks of life are now involved, including members of the police, emergency services and fire agencies, as well as climate, rainfall and river observers and students. Together they provide a vital service for the benefit of their neighbours and the community in general.