During times of drought a rain shower is almost always a welcome thing. Severe weather though, that’s another matter. Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell if those dark clouds moving in are simply bringing a gentle shower, a gully washer or more severe weather.
Fortunately, the National Weather Service offers a free program to help Texans learn to spot storms as the spring severe weather season approaches. Between now and the end of March, the NWS Skywarn program is hosting classes in numerous towns across the state, including several in the Brazos River basin.
Classes typically last about two hours, with some areas offering an additional period of advanced spotter training. All classes are free and open to the general public, and no advance registration is required.
According to the National Weather Service, Skywarn was developed in the late 1960s as a way to promote cooperation between the public and the weather service. The effort focuses on the storm spotter, who takes a position near a community and reports wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, cloud formations and other information that could signal a developing tornado.
During the classes, NWS meteorologists educate participants in the severe weather safety, the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, identifying potential severe weather features, what information to report and how to report it, and more.
For more information about the program, including times and locations of training classes, please click here.