Reporting Severe Weather

Every day, thousands of volunteer weather watchers across Canada keep their eyes on the skies for signs of everything from strong winds and funnel clouds, to hailstorms and blizzards. When they spot this or any other kind of severe or unusual weather, they report their exact time and location to Environment Canada’s meteorologists.

These reports are a vital source of information because they are often the first, and sometimes the only way forecasters receive notice of a localized event, which would otherwise not be detected through remote sensing methods or official observation networks. Visual confirmation is also critical to forecasters in gathering and confirming their diagnosis of the weather pattern. Early reports of severe weather help improve the accuracy and timeliness of the alerts Environment Canada issues to the public.

Although some weather spotters are formally trained, including members of the Canadian Weather Amateur Radio Network (CANWARN), all Canadians are encouraged to report signs of severe weather in their area. However, if you are unsure of the severity of an event, please contact the weather office and allow the forecaster to make an assessment.

The following areas of the country have formal mechanisms for reporting severe weather: