Spring is almost here, and it won't be long until our attention outside turns to claps of
thunder, flashes of lightning, rain, wind and hail. There was very little severe weather in
central and northern Wisconsin last year, but that it not an indication of what the new year
In the U.S. severe thunderstorm, tornado, and flood-related warnings are issued by local
National Weather Service offices. The warning issuance is based on two criteria: doppler
radar images of storms, and/or the reports of certified storm spotters. Storm spotters are
called the "eyes and ears" of the National Weather Service (NWS), because they are deployed
throughout the area and actually experience the weather as it occurs. In spite of the
increased interest and enthusiasm in storm chasing the past few years, being "out" with the
storms as they develop and progress can be very dangerous.
Each year, local NWS offices conduct training for those interested in becoming spotters.
No advanced scientific knowledge is required, but a devotion to learning and a willingness
to help promote public safety is important.
For residents of Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Langlade, Marathon, Shawano, Menominee,
Wood, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara Counties, as well as the rest of northeastern and
eastern Wisconsin the NWS office in Green Bay conducts the training. Click here for a link to
that office's 2010 schedule.
For residents of Taylor, Clark, Juneau, and Adams Counties, as well as the rest of southwestern
Wisconsin, the NWS office in La Cross conducts the training sessions. Click here for a link to that
office's current schedule.
For residents of Price County and the rest of northwestern Wisconsin, spotter training is conducted
by the NWS office in Duluth. Click here for that office's schedule.
Being a storm spotter can be dangerous, but also very rewarding because those that participate
are important contributors to the public safety.
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