Promoting Safe Storm Spotting


Mar 1, 2004
Lansing, MI
Ah see... Per Google, the only connection between KARK and the group is here - other than a few references where they had a KARK meteorologist speak at a spotter training session they were at as well. Not quite convincing enough for me...
Apr 14, 2011
Alexandria, LA
Bottom line, there really are no "standards" as far as spotters are concerned. It's handled a bit differently pretty much in every NWS CWA, and even in that sometimes differently on a county by county basis.
Indeed; and we're also not considering that Skywarn spotters aren't required to interface with the radio nets at all. If a spotter's chosen method of reporting is eSpotter or their WFO's spotter hotline, there won't be anyone directing them anywhere; they can go wherever they want, or even spot from home.
Mar 23, 2009
Ypsilanti, MI
Ah see... Per Google, the only connection between KARK and the group is here - other than a few references where they had a KARK meteorologist speak at a spotter training session they were at as well. Not quite convincing enough for me...
Agreed. Which means KARK may wish to talk to them about other things...
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Dec 18, 2003
Lubbock, TX
As for the media they will report or do what ever they need to keep ratings up. Don't mind them. The individual reporters they have are a dime a dozen and they will move on.
I'm sorry, but I'm taking an exception to that statement. It's very broad, and isn't necessarily true on the plains. I chase for a TV station out of Lubbock, this is my 8th year with them, but I was also a chaser 20 years before I ever got with them. I'm not the only one however. Most of the stations in at least the southern/central plains have very experienced storm chasers, good storm chasers, reporting for them. Some of these are very well known and respected storm chasers in our "community". They know what they are talking about and are certainly not "a dime a dozen". They also often interact with other TV stations when they are out of their home area, just like I do.

Now, they (the TV stations) do often send out the regular reporters, during big events, because lets face it, the storm chasers can only be on one storm at a time, and I will agree, these regular reporters usually don't know what they are looking at, but they end up doing damage chasing more than anything. Viewers expect that during a bit even, I'd even go so far to say in the southern plains markets, they demand it. All the warnings and safety included, big weather is good entertainment for the masses. Whether an individual finds it as distasteful or not, it's just the reality of things. There is an old saying in TV news about if you capture the viewers with the weather segment, you have them for the whole newscast. More and more of them however are seeing the value in hiring a "chaser for day" when they see their live streams.
Feb 9, 2007
Southern Illinois
I don't think Skywarn requires forecasting abilities and I'm pretty sure most don't require radar (though it's recommended), so, you really don't have a case with the spotter police. Let them live and learn and they will eventually become experienced.
Smart words here :)

I agree with Andy. When I first started Skywarn over 10 years ago, I was an idiot lol. I would core punch, get into wrecks from rising water and get into the path of storms without knowing what I was doing. I had enough close calls though to actually learn a little about what I was doing. I still do things that would be considered unsafe but not extremely deadly unsafe. One thing that bothers me though are spotters AND chasers who seem to not care about anyone on the road but themselves... People that are driving away from a severe weather event are in an extreme panic most likely and we really need to observe that while we are driving near them to get to the storm.


Mar 3, 2011
As far as "endorsing" goes. I was primarily meaning that KARK (via one of their meteorologist) would mention the spotters frequently when their meteorologist would post/comment about spotter classes (online mainly). They also had a deal where they had a drawing for a storm shelter, which is a great idea. The problem was that they were placing the PCSS into the limelight and saying that people could come and meet them. So, while it may not have been KARK per se, one of their meteorologists at this event was really pushing for this group.

I won't lie, I am not entirely certain how spotting/chasing coordination is supposed to work. That being said, this is why I brought my concerns to all of you. I wanted opinions outside of my own. They are skywarn spotters, so yes, they do have some training. The local NWS always states their displeasure in spotters actually pursuing storms. These guys cover several counties and have actually been quite a distance from home. So, whether or not they are spotters or chasers will be left up to you to decide.

As I have mentioned, I know that this may come off as a bit of a jealous rant, but I assure each of you that my concerns are that these guys remain safe. It is imperative that spotters and chasers alike, maintain a degree of respect for nature and play it smart. I just hope that they are doing this for the right reasons and not solely for the "fame".

I truly appreciate everyone's perspectives on this. For the most part, I have decided that it is out of my hands. How the public perceives them is just the way it is. Hopefully, this group and any new spotters will take this seriously and not place themselves in an unnecessarily harmful situation.