Becoming a Spotter


To become a part of the Walworth County Weather Spotter team you must first:

1. Have the desire to learn.
2. Attend a free spotter class in the Spring made available by the NWS, or have finished an online storm spotter course.
3. Be ready to participate when severe weather events occur.
4. Continue to educate yourself about severe weather. This team requires that you attend a storm spotter class at least once every two years.
5. Last but not least, ALWAYS keep safety your top priority.
Storm spotting vs. Storm Chasing

There are a lot of people interested in storm spotting and storm chasing.
Storm spotting is:  observing weather from a fixed location. 
Storm chasing is:  observing a storm while mobile. 

**The Walworth County Weather Spotters field team does not train for, or encourage, storm chasing**

Always remember---SAFETY IS A SPOTTER'S #1 PRIORITY!!

Safety to yourself and your family is most important. Never take a risk that you may regret for the sake of making a weather report.
Be safe. You can make that report later.

Educational resources

Becoming a spotter starts with education about how convective weather works, what to look for, and how the spotter's role fits in.

Many resources are available for spotter education.

Emergency Management of your county, with the National Weather Service office (NWS) in your area, may schedule one or many free weather spotting classes to the public starting in late Winter or early Spring.  NWS Meteorologists present these classes.
There are two things you need: The desire to learn and a couple of hours of time. 

The National Weather Service makes public its' spotter class schedule. 
You can find this schedule on this link.

Another method to getting started in storm spotting is online education. A very good site to visit is the MetEd Skywarn Spotter Training Course. 
You can find that site by clicking on this link:

Again, these classes or online courses are free.

After you attend the spotter class, or have taken an online course, you will have new tools for being able to recognize severe weather. It can also open your eyes on how to prepare yourself and your loved ones should severe weather strike.
Does this one class mean you have all the tools you'll ever need to recognize severe weather? Most experienced weather spotters say "No". People that have been spotters for years return to these free classes saying that they still pick up on things that they missed the first time through.