NIU to host weather spotter training

Photo of a tornadoWhen severe weather strikes, nothing beats an eye on the storm.

“Despite all the technology that we have, radar can’t tell if there is a tornado, or what size hail is falling, or if there is flooding,” said Gilbert Sebenste, NIU staff meteorologist. “Having a weather spotter report these things – in real time – can save lives.”

NIU Weather and the NIU American Meteorological Society are offering the community an opportunity Thursday, Feb. 19, to make a difference by becoming a trained weather spotter.

“By going to spotter training, you will learn the area of the storms that cause severe weather,” Sebenste said. “You will also learn how to report that information to the National Weather Service, so that your family, friends and community know what’s going on.”

Led by National Weather Service meteorologist Jamie Enderlen, the two-hour training will cover fundamental information that every spotter needs to know, with a focus on safety, identification of key weather features and official reporting procedures.

Sebenste said NIU hosts the basic weather spotting training each year, which raises public awareness and allows the community to take part in the Skywarn spotter network.

Gilbert Sebenste
Gilbert Sebenste

“We can infer certain things via radar and other technology, but without spotters, we have no idea for sure what is happening in the community,” Sebenste said. “That is why spotter reports are so critical to alert members of the community.”

The weather spotter training will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in Room 200 of LaTourette Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and does not require reservations.

Following the session, attendees will receive a direct number to the National Weather Service that is reserved for trained weather spotters.

For more information, email gilbert@niu.edu.

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