Learn about severe weather with NWS storm spotter training

The National Weather Service (NWS) will conduct live, in-person SKYWARN storm spotter training in Fort Wayne Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Public Safety Academy/Ivy Tech South Campus, 7602 Patriot Crossing (off Lafayette St. south of Tillman Rd.).

The NWS relies heavily on trained, volunteer storm spotters. Ham radio operators have strongly supported the SKYWARN program for decades and recently more and more other volunteers, who are not ham radio operators, have joined in. An important part of supporting the program is to receive NWS training and to keep that knowledge up to date.

I want to be as helpful as possible to the NWS and, thereby my community. That’s why I attend SKYWARN training every year, even though the NWS only expects spotters to attend at least once every three years. I find it helpful to refresh my memory from the previous year and to make sure I’m aware of any new information.

If you’ve never attended the training, and you live in the Fort Wayne area, this is your chance to do so without traveling out of town. If you have attended in previous years, this month’s training will be a good refresher. If you don’t live in the Fort Wayne area, you can find a list of other classes taught by the northern Indiana NWS office here.

If you know anyone who is curious about what storm spotting is, invite them to attend. Remember that while a ham license is helpful to spotters, it’s not at all necessary, especially in these days of smartphones and mobile Internet.

The NWS considers the in-person training to be supplemental to online spotter training available on the MetEd website (https://www.meted.ucar.edu/). It recommends that all spotters complete the online training in addition to the in-person training and ideally, before the in-person session.

Finally, the NWS sincerely requests that all individuals register in advance for in-person training sessions. I have already honored that request, by registering for the Feb. 17 session. You can register online for the Fort Wayne class at http://allen-in-spotter.eventzilla.net/ or you can register by phone by calling the Allen County Office of Homeland Security at 260-449-4663.

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