Apr
18
2007

Ever wanted to be a storm spotter? Now's your chance! The National Weather Service (NWS) relies on local SKYWARN storm spotters to confirm, from the ground, what meteorologists are seeing on radar. NWS storm spotters are not tornado chasers like the folks in the movie "Twister." Instead, they report wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, cloud formations, and the like to NWS and local emergency management agencies.

Tornado: This tornado, seen in its early stages of formation over Union City, Oklahoma (May 24, 1973), was the first one caught by the National Severe Storms Laboratory doppler radar and chase personnel. (Photo courtesy NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OA
Tornado: This tornado, seen in its early stages of formation over Union City, Oklahoma (May 24, 1973), was the first one caught by the National Severe Storms Laboratory doppler radar and chase personnel. (Photo courtesy NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OA

New radar equipment is still not sensitive enough to determine the existence of an actual tornado. It can only predict where severe weather is likely to occur. So the NWS needs trained volunteers to verify actual severe weather.

With peak storm season just around the corner (mid-June here in the Upper Midwest), free, 2.5-hour classes are being offered to train new SkyWarn volunteers.

SkyWarn class schedule, greater Minnesota
SkyWarn class schedule, Twin Cities Metro area

Here's how you get started...

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Mary Usery's picture
Mary Usery says:

I am looking for a position in Weather Spotting. Something I always wanted to do since I was a kid. I think I have some of the knowledge that would help me with this job. As I was growing up going into college which i am currently attending at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wi I always studied and read books and done research on the internet on the weather. I am very good at predicting whats going to happen with the forcast. I always make sure to use all my 5 sensous, smell, touch, sight, hear, and taste of the feeling in everystorm that comes to my area. Everytime I know that there is bad weather headed my way I go out and look at the clouds sometimes take pictures. I love storms and observing the results rather its a regualar storm or severe. I am crazy when it comes to storms. Or I will be at home tracking the storms on Doppler Radar and just follow it! Thats my future and I will stick with it forever. Well thank You for reading my comment and I hope this will prove to you that if I was a storm Spottier I would do it for the science not for money. This has been my interest since forever. Thank You for your time!

posted on Thu, 09/13/2007 - 9:25pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options