Becoming A “Storm Spotter”

“The effects of severe weather are felt by many of us during our lifetimes. To obtain critical weather information, the National Weather Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and cooperating organizations, have established SKYWARN Spotter's Networks. A “Storm Spotter” has the responsibility of identifying and describing severe local storms. Because of storm spotter reports, plus the addition of new technology and improved warning dissemination, many lives have been saved. A storm spotter's information, coupled with Doppler radar, satellite, and other data, enables the National Weather Service to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods. Storm spotters have the important task of observing and reporting hazardous weather and protecting themselves and others during encounters with hostile weather situations. Storm spotters are part of the ranks of those who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe weather, and their reward is found in knowing that their efforts have given a community the precious gift of time…seconds and minutes that can save lives.” (John E. Jones, Jr. “Basic Spotters' Field Guide”)

Many types of weather information are needed from storm spotters; however, some types of information are much more important than others. Strict adherence to the reporting criteria allows vital information to be communicated as soon as possible. To obtain this high level of reporting, individuals attend a “storm spotter” training class. During the evening class, you are given an introductory look at severe thunderstorms, the hazardous weather they produce, and some of the visual clues available to help determine a storm's severity. You will receive an overview of the fundamentals of severe storm spotting. This training is the first step in your thunderstorm education, and if you choose, you can continue your education with more advanced spotter training programs.

The Cimarron County “Storm Spotter” training class is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3, 2007, from 7- 9 p.m. at the PTCI Building on West Main. NOAA representatives from Amarillo will conduct the training. The county Emergency Management Director encourages all law enforcement, EMS , firefighters and city, state, and county employees to attend this interesting and informative training. The general public is also invited.