Weather Wednesday – CANWARN

Hello and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. Todays post is all about CANWARN. I have just attended my 12th session in 6 years. This post is intended to give those who haven’t attended either a CANWARN or a SKYWARN session some insight as to what you will be trained to watch for as a weather spotter.
The session consists of a lecture from a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist and a Ham Radio Coordinator for the area. The Meteorologist does 95 percent of the session, while the Ham Radio Coordinator does the Amateur Radio component. I will get more into that later.
When you are being trained or refreshed, you will be learning or relearning about the cloud formations, from wall to shelf clouds. You will also learn about all the different types of thunderstorms from single-cell to supercells. They even discuss hail and lightning and how to protect yourself from both dangers. Hint: when thunder roars go in doors. I have always believed that from when I was little and I don’t want to be tangling with something as dangerous as lightning.
The other component of this is the Amateur Radio side. There is always a contingent of attendees each year to a CANWARN or SKYWARN session. The Amateur Radio Coordinator for the area gives a briefing on how to report severe weather. They may also mention the repeaters in the area, which are used for either CANWARN or SKYWARN nets.
Of course, another part to this is Weather Radio and a mention of either the National Weather Service website or Environment Canada’s weather website. I love the Weather Radio portion of it because it is my favourite part of what Environment Canada and NOAA does. It has saved my life on occasion and has made me feel at ease, when severe weather is on the horizon.
That is just some of what you will learn when you go to your first training session for either CANWARN or SKYWARN. Every year and every area’s sessions are different and may not be the same as I have experienced but it is always interesting. You get to meet people who are like minded and you may even get a tour of the Weather Office, if the session is held in it’s headquarters. I have been to the Environment Canada sessions every year since I started in 2008 and I have met a few of the meteorologists whom I have either heard on the radio or on TV over the years. It is always nice to meet people who have given you important life saving information over the years and to share stories with them. I could go into some but I don’t want this post to go on too long.
Anyway, if you are going to either your first CANWARN or SKYWARN session you should have some idea of what you may be in for when attending.
If you have any comments you can comment here or you can email me at
Also, don’t forget to check out my Simpsons Sunday posts as well. They are just as interesting and I try to personalize it as much as I can, while giving you information that is all over the internet..


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