Spring 2013 SKYWARN Classes and Information


Online SKYWARN Spotter Classes

NWS Birmingham will be conducting SKYWARN spotter classes in a slightly different fashion.  In addition to the classes scheduled in your local area and the end-of-season, online Graduate Storm Spotter class, we will also be conducting ONLINE Basic Spotter Courses during both the spring and the fall.  This will give the public the opportunity to become a SKYWARN Spotter without the confinement of having to attend a class during their busy work week.  Instead, interested individuals will be able to complete the course in the comfort of their own home with the use of Go-To Meeting, a very user-friendly computer program.  By simply signing up for the class, downloading the FREE software, and attending the 1.5 - 2 hour class, individuals (or a group of individuals) will become SKYWARN Spotters.  The only requirement will be speakers on your computer to listen and if you want to ask questions, you will need to have a VOIP microphone.  Additionally, they can be viewed on Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone and Android. To see when these classes will be held, scroll down or click here.

Though not a requirement, as a warm up to the spotter classes, NWS Birmingham would like those who plan on attending the online classes, or even or locally scheduled classes, to view the following FREE online training modules:
MetEd Image

The "Role of the SKYWARN® Spotter" module is used to provide baseline training for all spotters through multiple scenarios covering the procedures for spotting (including communication and storm report criteria), safety considerations for all hazards, and an overview of the national program and its history.
MetEd Image
The "SKYWARN® Spotter Convective Basics" module will guide users to a basic understanding of convective storms. Through three different scenarios, you will cover reporting and proper communication of local storm reports to the National Weather Service (NWS), personal safety during these events, and field identification of convective storm hazards. After completing the scenarios, you will be given the opportunity to practice identifying storm features from a spectrum of photos.

Locally Scheduled Basic SKYWARN Spotter Classes

To schedule a Spring 2013 local Basic Storm Spotter class in your area, please contact your county Emergency Management Office. The map below shows the locations for the currently scheduled classes in your local area:


View 2013 Spring Basic Storm Spotter Classes in a larger map


Graduate Storm Spotter Class (GSC)

The Graduate Spotter Class (GSC) will be held twice a year after the completion of the Basic Spotter Classes each season.  The GSC will be completed over the internet by way of a Webinar.  Webinar allows you to sign on to the website and follow along as one of the NWS Meteorologists delve deep into the world of Meteorology. This will require you to have speakers on your computer. During and afterwards, you will be able to ask questions directly to the NWS Meteorologist, so a microphone is suggested, but not required.

Central Alabama SKYWARN Spotter Class Schedule for Spring 2013


Class / County


Jan 31
6 pm

Basic / Shelby

Hoover Public Safety Center
2020 Valleydale Road

Feb 4
6 pm

Basic / Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue Service
Training & Logistics Facility
2015 McFarland Blvd East

Feb 7
2 pm

Basic / Lee

Auburn University
Information Technology Building
Room 103
300 Lem Morrison Blvd

Feb 7
6 pm

Basic / Lee

Lee County EOC
908 Ave B

Feb 19
630 pm

Basic / Blount

Blount County EOC
220 2nd Avenue East

Feb 21
6 pm

Basic / Etowah

Facility TBD
Hokes Bluff

Feb 26
630 pm

Basic / Elmore

Elmore County Courthouse
100 East Commerce Street

Mar 11
6 pm

Online Graduate Spotter Class

Click Here to
Register for the
Graduate Class
TBD means To Be Determined
Classes are ~2.0 hours long unless otherwise indicated

All times are Central unless otherwise noted




SKYWARN is the National Weather Service (NWS) program of trained volunteer weather spotters.  Storm spotters come from many walks of life, including fire fighters, law enforcement, and amateur radio operators.  SKYWARN spotters coordinate with local emergency management officials and send reports of weather based phenomena to the NWS.

In addition to serving as a community's first line of defense against dangerous storms, spotters provide important information to warning forecasters who make critical warning decisions.  SKYWARN storm spotters play a critical role of giving the NWS vital ground truth data, which helps the NWS perform its primary mission, to save lives and property.

Registration will be conducted prior to the beginning of each class.  Spotter classes are not usually held during the summer months.  Additional spotter classes may not be shown in the table above when scheduled for specific groups such as law enforcement training classes.


Spotter Information


Additional Links

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