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How you can become a certified storm spotter

The National Weather Service is looking for storm spotters this spring. Here's how you can become one, for free!

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Love to watch storms roll in? Here's your chance to become a certified National Weather Service storm spotter, for FREE!

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these classes will be held online again this year instead of in-person. That doesn't mean you won't get the same great instruction and guidance from the experts at the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities. 

Each training lasts two hours and is completely open to the public. There is no cost to attend. The content provided is recommended for those ages ten and up. You'll want to sign up quickly as each class is limited to 250 participants. 

What can you expect during the training? In addition to seeing some really cool storm videos of events both recent and past, you'll get a better understanding of how storms function and what to look for. Storm spotters are an incredibly valuable resource. 

Despite advances in radar technology, there are still details of a storm that can't be seen using radar data alone. Several of our communities, especially south of the Quad Cities, reside in a radar gap where the lower-level features of the storm can't be seen. That's where the role of storm spotters becomes even more important. 

You'll also learn what types of weather to report, and how to avoid misreporting common cloud features that are often mistaken as tornadoes or funnel clouds.

Lastly, safety is extremely important when storm spotting. The meteorologists will also reinforce safety measures that should be taken as storms roll through. 

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After you complete the class, you'll be emailed a certificate of completion.

The following dates are open for registration but are likely to fill up quickly. Make sure and register as soon as possible.  

Credit: WQAD
A list of online spotter training dates for 2021

Ready to register? Choose your date below.

March 9 6:30 PM - COMPLETED
March 16 1:00 PM - COMPLETED
March 18 6:30 PM - COMPLETED
March 22 6:30 PM - COMPLETED
March 25 6:30 PM - Register Here
March 27 1:00 PM - Register Here
March 30 6:30 PM - Register Here
April 1 1:00 PM - Register Here
April 6 6:30 PM - Register Here

Additional classes are being offered by surrounding National Weather Service offices, including Chicago, Lincoln, and Des Moines

You can also download the Weather Spotters Field Guide, here. This booklet would typically be available if you were to attend the training in-person.