Getting started as a spotter

Mar 1, 2011
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Cleveland, Ohio
Hello. First, if this question has been asked a million times I apologize, please simply direct me to the appropriate thread.

In short, I want to become a certified spotter. Where i live (Northern Ohio) has its share of severe weather, and when the time comes i want to be part of the warning community.

I've heard that there are different spotter programs. For my area, which are the best, or ones that you would recommend?

Also, reading these threads i've seen a lot of talk about ham radio. What is the significance of these devices?

Thanks for your time,

Dan
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
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470
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
There's really only one "spotter" program... That's the Skywarn program. Your local NWS office http://weather.gov/cle offers free training in your county every year, so that's the way to start. Ham radio used to be the primary way of getting info to the NWS, that's sort of getting supplanted by SpotterNetwork.

But you still need training, and that's through Skywarn.
 
Apr 24, 2010
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Derby, KS
The only "official" spotter organization is Skywarn. I recommend you do a few searches online, their website is located here: http://skywarn.org/. You might contact your local NWS office, and find out who your spotter coordinator is for the area. They can give you more localized information.

The Skywarn classes offered each spring are nice starting points, but are by no means all-inclusive. Find someone who truly knows what they're doing, most are very great people who are more than willing to help "newbies". Experience is the best way to learn. Check out the Educational area for some information on severe weather, including some literature for you to purchase & read. Learn all you can before going out in the field, and learn some more when you're out there.
 
Jun 2, 2010
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Napoleon Ohio
The Skywarn training is most likely over for the season, they usually run that in February through March. One does not have to be an amateur radio operator to be a spotter, there are other ways of notifying the NWS, there is the e-spotter portal, there is the toll free spotter number for the NWS office, there is Spotter Network as previously mentioned.

One thing to remember, just taking one class will not totally prepare you, my suggestion is to go with a more experienced spotter for your area.

You can probably get in tough with local spotters by contacting your local EMA, give them your name/contact information and they will forward it on and someone will get in touch with you.
 

GregDean

Enthusiast
Jun 1, 2011
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I wanted to get Skywarn Cert this year but with my new job not giving me much time to pursue it. I missed my chance to get to one of the classes in my neighboring counties. So what i am going to do for myself is read up on all the Spotter Network training module, Pass their Tests, and start my storm spotting that way. I will just have to wait till next year to get to a Skywarn class. I am also studying for my Ham Radio License, So i will be on the airwaves soon as well.

Too bad that i missed Skywarn though.. I just wish they would offer classes for longer periods or even private classes. But i dont think that will happen.
 

GregDean

Enthusiast
Jun 1, 2011
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My local area doesn't seem to have an online program from what i have seen I am currently working on getting done with my SN tests. Been working so much i havent had a chance to read the material for SN. I am just now getting serious about learning more about weather. Being 22 i have a good amount of time to study it...
 

GregDean

Enthusiast
Jun 1, 2011
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OH so you own that site! Awesome. I actually used that site 2 years ago. I was going to start reading ti just recently but work caught up with me so now i am working like 40 hours a week.(retail)