Become a Volunteer Weather Spotter

April 1, 2015

Huron County, ON – The County of Huron is pleased to announce that Environment Canada CANWARN free sessions will be hosted within Huron County.

CANWARN is the eyes and ears of Environment Canada. It is a volunteer group of people of all ages who spot and report severe weather. They report “ground-truth” information, which when used with radar and other equipment, help Environment Canada to more accurately inform the media and public through Environment Canada issued and updated Weather Watches and Warnings.

You can become a CANWARN Weather Spotter for Environment Canada. Learn about this important voluntary service that can assist the people of Huron County by attending this upcoming session.

FREE training session will take place:

Wednesday April 29, 2015 – 1:00 to 3:30 PM
Emergency Services Training Centre
40193 Blyth Road, Blyth, ON

Wednesday April 29, 2015 – 7:00 to 9:30 PM
Town of Goderich Council Chambers
57 West St, Goderich, ON

Please register by contacting Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Geoff Coulson at or visit our website


Background Information

Environment Canada’s CANWARN Storm Spotter Program

Environment Canada’s severe weather meteorologists have a variety of tools at their disposal to detect and track thunderstorm activity. These tools include Doppler weather radar, satellite imagery and a lightning detection network. These tools can provide the meteorologists with a good sense of which storms may produce damaging weather like large hail, violent winds, flooding rains or tornadoes. However, these tools do not necessarily provide the meteorologist with a sense of what may be happening right at ground level. Therefore, real-time, on-the-ground information from trained spotters continues to be an integral part of Environment Canada’s Severe Weather Watch and Warning Program.

CANWARN volunteers are trained to look for clues in the sky as to which storms may produce damaging weather. They can also report important information on hail size and any damage that has resulted from the passage of a storm. They can send in their reports directly to the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre through an unlisted, toll-free phone number or by a special email address. Both the phone number and email address are monitored 24/7 by meteorologists. Reports received by CANWARN volunteers are often key in the decision to issue or update a warning bulletin for a given area and specific mention is often made of the type of information received by a storm spotter within the text of the warning bulletin.

CANWARN volunteers come from all walks of life; amateur radio operators, the Canadian Red Cross, first responders, municipal/provincial/federal government employees, teachers and many others. Environment Canada holds a series of training sessions across the province each spring to refresh the knowledge of existing volunteers and to welcome new volunteers to the program. The training normally lasts about 21/2 hours and there is no cost to attend. The training covers the basics of thunderstorm formation, what differentiates a severe from a non-severe thunderstorm, the types of damage severe thunderstorms can produce, what to watch for in the sky, what to report to the Storm Prediction Centre and a series of safety tips.

For more information on the program, please contact Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Geoff Coulson at or visit our website


For more information contact:

Susan Cronin, County Clerk
519.524.8394 (ext 3257)