Weather service looking for storm spotters

The training begins Monday, February 27 and runs through April

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The National Weather Service is conducting training for anyone who wants to become a certified storm spotter.

The Skywarn program involves a group of volunteers trained by the National Weather Service to help spot and report severe weather. The group is instrumental in informing meteorologists with the NWS with what conditions are like on the ground.

“It is a win, win for everybody. They help us by being on the ground telling us what is happening from these storms and in turn we use that information to put that into warnings,” said Fred McMullen, National Weather Service meteorologist.

The NWS uses the spotter information along with radar and satellite to help issue more accurate and timely information to the public. Their reports can lead to a potential severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning.

Anyone is eligible to be a storm spotter for the NWS, but you must attend one of the free Skywarn training sessions.

During the 90 minute session, they’ll teach you what to look for during a weather event, including basic thunderstorm development and severe weather safety.

“We’ve had golf ball-sized hail reported. We’ve had trees snapped. This allows people to take action because it has been reported by a credible source,” McMullen said.

The training begins Monday, February 27 and runs through April. FIND A CLASS IN YOUR AREA

If you can’t make the training in person, the training is available online.

The NWS notes the training is not a storm chasing program. They never ask volunteers to risk their safety to send information.