Ever have the desire to become a storm spotter? Well, it's the time of year that you can go through the training to become one.
All of the info you could possibly need can be found here: NWS Skywarn Spotter Info
The National Weather Service is always looking for storm spotters and say the more the merrier. Storm spotters are the eyes and ears around central Alabama and help the NWS with the warning decision process. Storm reports help the NWS before and after an event. NWS is in need of spotters, especially in rural areas and outside of the major metropolitan.
If you are wanting to become a storm spotter here's the steps to follow:
1. Visit: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bmx/?n=skywarnschedule#basic_local and see if you can make it to one of the SKYWARN classes.
If you are unable to make it to a spotter class, you can now do a webinar on-line from home: You'll just have to register ahead of time by going here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/772322297
You can also contact your local Emergency Management and ask them if they are having a class.
2. After completing training either at a specific location or on-line, you'll receive more info about spotting and even a link to a certificate.
3. You'll learn what you need to look for and what the NWS needs when reporting about hail size, wind damage and cloud specifics. Once you know the desired information you can submit your storm report: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/StormReport/SubmitReport.php?site=bmx
A STORM SPOTTER IS NOT A STORM CHASER!
The NWS is not teaching you to go storm chasing. IF you chose to do something like that, you are putting yourself in harms way and potentially in the way of first responders. Storm chasing is never recommended and is very dangerous. The terrain and trees and lack of good road network make chasing even difficult for trained meteorologists and researchers in Alabama.
If you are already a storm spotter there are graduate storm spotting classes you could take that teach you more about the meteorology. https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/153699889
Even if you don't have an interest in storm spotting, it's still important to learn about Alabama severe weather and the module is great for that. https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_module.php?id=816amp;caller=/COMET/events/EventList.aspx
Storm spotters are very valuable and again are the eyes the radar doesn't have.
I have been storm chasing for 7 years and would love to share some of my experiences with you. I have chased in terrain similar to Alabama while working in the Missouri Ozarks but have also chased across the flat Plains in Oklahoma.
Feel free to see some of my storm chasing pictures on www.facebook.com/JillGilardiMeteorologist
Here's a few of my best pictures:
Wall cloud in Washington county, KS on 4-30-10
5-19-10 funnel cloud in Hennessey, OK
Mammatus clouds in Omaha, NE on 7-25-2012
Jill Gilardi Fox 6 Meteorologist