Training To Become Skywarn Storm Spotters

By KBJR News 1

May 8, 2011 Updated May 8, 2011 at 11:17 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- With a chance of thunderstorms looming this week, it's a good time to get a leg up on storm spotting by training the eyes on what to look for.

Storm spotters learned about severe weather right here at the News Center and meteorologist Dave Anderson has the story.

As they say on TV, don't try this at home.

This is dash cam video from a Crow Wing County law enforcement professional rushing to warn campers of a potential tornado.

The rotating wall cloud hanging below a towering cumulonimbus is a classic sign of a twister.

Old or young, the weather fascinates many of us. Eleven year old Austin Willoughby of Superior is an example.

"I look at it pretty much every day and I have this little thing that says the temperature and barometer and winds speed."

Austin joined sixty other weather enthusiasts Saturday here at the News Center to become a trained Skywarn Storm Spotter.
Chief Meteorologist Adam Clark organized the session with the National Weather Service.

"We need to be proactive in trying to keep this community safe and try to keep it organized during a severe weather event. That's what storm spotters help do."

Carol Christenson of the National Weather Service has trained thousands of Skywarn spotters like these folks.

They become feet on the ground and eyes in the sky after learning about cumulonimbus clouds, wall clouds and tornadoes.

"The one thing I want hammered in their heads is if you see something like large hail, damaging wind, funnel clouds, tornadoes or rotating wall clouds to call it in to the National Weather Service."

After the two hour session, young Austin Willoughby who wants to join the National Weather Service when he grows up, couldn't wait to spot a storm.

"It taught you a lot about weather and what to do when you see a severe thunderstorm."

Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson thinks Austin's go get em' attitude is what the science of meteorology needs.

"It's great to see kids involved with weather and hopefully we get more kids involved in the future."

Our weather watcher Zeke Harvey from Alborn made arrangements to have the publisher of "Weatherwise Magazine" provide copies of the magazine to all attendees.

If you'd like to become weather wise, the National Weather Service will travel around the region offering more Skywarn training.
Upcoming sessions include one in Siren on May 11th and Ely on May 23rd.