A message from Rusty Kapela
Warning Coordination Meteorologist

I teach spotter classes each spring. One or two per county in southern Wisconsin, either in March or April... usually 7 to 9 pm. There may be some afternoon classes. They are free, no pre-registration needed. I do not issue certificates. There is plenty of seating at all classes. If you can't make it to the assigned county spotter class, go to one in a neighboring county. Again, there is always plenty of seats... just show up. We post the entire spotter class schedule by early February each year. Tap my shoulder at the spotter class, and introduce yourself. I will give you an 800 number to call us with severe weather reports.

If you want to be a severe weather spotter for southcentral or southeast Wisconsin, please send me your complete mailing address and phone number, using my email address of rusty.kapela@noaa.gov

During severe weather episodes, we may call you if we need to find out what kind of weather you experienced. We need the time and exact location that the severe weather occurred. Make sure your watches and clocks are correctly set.

I teach basic, intermediate, and advanced spotter concepts all rolled into one during the class. First-timers may not grasp everything... so I encourage them to come back each year until they feel comfortable. One either knows what they are doing or looking for...or they don't.

I have 2 laptop slide shows that I go through, plus a couple segments from a couple video tapes. We go through basic storm structure, point out where to look for tornadoes and downbursts, show examples, etc. Plus I cover what kind of reports we want, how to get them to the NWS, etc. Handouts and small booklets are provided to each "student" at the class. There is no final exam.

We have lots of useful weather info on our homepage...surf it and enjoy. There are lots of links from our page.

Use your favorite search engine on the Internet... and use these key words to find more info on severe storms...
tornado, weatherwise, vortex, tornadoproject, severe storm chasers, weathersafe, skywarn, masa, tornado chasers, tornado chasers, dowburst, mesoscale, microbursts, fujita, thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms, severe weather spotters, storm spotters

Also...go to local libraries/bookstores...and see if they have any weather-related books.

...bottom line is.... if you are not absolutely sure about what you are looking at, don't telephone in or radio in your severe weather report.  We don't need false reports.

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