Weather Blog: Become an NWS Skywarn weather spotter without leaving your home


It won’t be long before the threat for severe weather will once again increase around the ArkLaTex. Usually, our secondary severe weather season including the threat for tornadoes starts to ramp up during the month of October. One thing that would improve our ability to inform you about severe storms is to have more eyes on the ground watching them as they move through the area. That is where you can help!

The National Weather Service in Shreveport will be conducting a Skywarn Spotter Training class on Thursday evening at 6 pm. If you’ve thought about attending one of these classes but didn’t have the time to travel to the training session, there is good news. This class will be different as the NWS will broadcast it on Facebook Live. You will have a chance to interact and ask questions about the material in the class on your phone or computer right from the comfort of your own home. For any questions related to this training session, contact NWS Shreveport Skywarn Focal Point, Chris, and NWS Shreveport Warning Coordination Meteorologist

After attending the class, you won’t quite be an official spotter just yet. In order to become an official Skywarn Spotter, you will have to attend an NWS Skywarn Spotter training session in person.  The Fall schedule can be found at: Don’t have time for tomorrow’s Facebook event or can’t attend an upcoming class in person? There is good news below…..

SKYWARNTM Training is Also Available Online!

If you want to become a certified spotter but can’t attend a Skywarn class in person, official SKYWARNTM training is available online through the COMET program. COMET is a cooperative program between the National Weather Service and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

Anyone who completes this online course, passes the associated quiz with a score of 70% or better, and watches a video provided by the National Weather Service in Blacksburg will become an officially trained SKYWARNTM spotter.

Please click here to proceed to the training.

Please click here for the NWS Blacksburg video.

When you have completed the training, passed the test with 70% or better, and watched the video, please email our Warning Coordination Meteorologist and let him know. Also, in your email, in addition to a small note stating you completed the training and video, please include the following:

     1.  Your 911 mailing address or your latitude/longitude to the nearest 4th decimal place

     2.  Your phone number

     3.  Any time restrictions of when you would NOT want to be called by our meteorologists

     4.  Whether or not you have any weather equipment and the type of equipment

     5.  An attachment of the certificate you earned after completing the online class

This past weekend Josh, Jesse and I attended an NWS media workshop where they stressed the need for more storm spotters in our area, especially in Northwest Louisiana. Quite often we see rotation within a thunderstorm on the radar. Keep in mind that rotation is often several thousand feet off the ground. We have no way of knowing for sure whether that rotation is producing a tornado UNLESS someone sees it. So please consider becoming a certified Skywarn storm spotter. It’s easier than you think.

–Todd Warren

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