Advanced Spotter Training?

terra seright

Is there such a thing? Is it just an experience issue? What we learned in Skywarn class was quite basic, I think. We had already taught ourselves everything that was in the training, really. At the training we attended last night, we received the basic and advanced spotter handbooks, so I'm a bit curious.

We learned to stay out of the center of the storm when our tires were lifted off the pavement enough to move our truck into the other lane by a downburst. Thank God the kiddo was hanging out at a friend's house, rather than with us....

We found radar ( is really clear and easy to use for our area)...Bought books to teach us about the different parts of the storms and where to watch for the action.

We were ahead of other spotters in getting to the areas where the action is, without being connected to any groups, simply by watching the clouds and radar from the news station, all before taking the training class.

......and we watched the posts on this site to see if it was even worth chasing at all!

We will be attending the local spotter workshop next month, and will be taking our tests for our amateur radio licenses soon...this way we can be connected to the other spotters.

Anyone have any other suggestions??
The advanced part of AMA's spotter training basically consists of getting into a little bit of the theory and meteorology behind severe storms, such as what an RFD is and what role is plays.

The basic part of the training is mostly about how and what to report to the NWS and how to safely position yourself.

AMA doesn't really hold two separate trainings. We do it in one session.

Jason Boggs

Terra, I will also be at the Convention next month at the civic center. I will be at the KAMR booth (I chase for them) so get with me. I will more than likely do an advanced spotter training and put it on CD. It's not set in stone yet, but it will probably happen.

Welcome to the world of storm spotters! There are some excellent sources of online information for advanced storm spotting that might augment what you already know.

David Drummond has an excellent one at

I also highly recommend:
The entire weather module is a great educational tool.

A good radar tutorial:

Another good radar tutorial (but it seems to be buggy right now)

I will be there at the Severe Weather Workshop on March 21st at the Civic Center along with Jason, so stop by and say hi!
Last edited by a moderator:
Oct 30, 2008
Rhode Island
Hi Terra,

You've posted a great question. My wife and I are in the same boat as you and we're looking for that "next step" in our progression. For us, it's more field work (actual chases) (real world experience) and we're getting our hands on as much material as we can find. We're currently reading Tim Vasquez's Storm Chasing Handbook and working our way through some of the great links that Steve has posted above. I'm also becoming increasingly interested in forecasting, so I'll likely head down that road in the near future.

I guess I haven't directly answered any of your questions, but I did want to let you know that you guys are not alone and I will definitely follow this thread to see what others have to say.

Welcome to Stormtrack!

terra seright

Cool, thanks, y'all!

We're studying for that Ham license at the moment, but will hit up those links very soon, Jason, thanks.

Will be great to meet you guys at the workshop.....I'm sure y'all have seen my family out, possibly at the crazy-looking cell that was out southwest of Pampa a couple of years back...we were driving a 1-ton red dually at that time (Blazer's engine went out just as we were about to catch the Tulia tornado, so we had to use the gas guzzler lol).

Bryan, good to know we're not the only ones in this boat, glad this question will serve others!

------nice to meet you all!!
up here in chicago we have an advance spotter training for the more nerdy/meteorological incline people. It is held at a local college in wheaton. People discuss what has happened in chicago area and big events. also radar data and other types of data for the more storm chaser and or spotter in the area. if you got the website you can get more info or a link the page.

terra seright

Hey, I feel like I know a few things now, after that seminar!!

Everyone did a wonderful job of presenting the information--and there was a great presentation on downbursts too (were they reading my mind or my posts??)! Now I can read some of the maps that were completely mind boggling to me before, and I understand LOTS more about what to do, where to go, and when to jump and run.

Can you tell I'm totally psyched? LOL and there were some lil storms tonight, we went chasing just for fun, knowing they wouldn't produce anything too stout--but it was fun, and a great light show!

The spotter training was no different than the one we attended in Feb, but there was no need after that seminar.

Jason, it was nice to meet you this afternoon, and Steve--I'm sorry I missed you. Hopefully there will be an event in the future where we can meet, and maybe even chat a bit (it was a busy day!).


A more edumakated terra s.

Jason Boggs

Terra, it was also nice meeting you and your husband, even though it was brief. I agree that the presentation on downburst was very well done. Glad you guys had fun out there!