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About Derechos - Storm Prediction Center

Amateur Radio Spotters For Southeast Wisconsin



Building A Spotter Network - NWS La Crosse

Cloud Catalog - Univ. Of IL.

Cloud Catalog - Plymouth State



Damage Assessment Primer - NWS La Crosse
Development Of The EF Scale - SPC, 95 Pages
Guide to F Scale Damage Assessment Training - WDTB, 100 Pages
The 28 Damage Indicators

Storm Damage Surveys 2011 - Jim Allsopp - Chicago NWS 4 Mb 28 slides

Dispatcher Training - NWS Des Moines  50 pages
Dispatcher Questions To Ask Spotters - NWS Milwaukee  4 pages

Dual Polar Cheat Sheet (covers ZDR, CC, KDP, HCA)   NEW

Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale

Getting Started In Storm Spotting

GR-Level 3 Radar Tuturial

Hail - Wind- Ice - Hurricane Scales

Identifying Cloud Features  By Gene Moore            Excellent photos!
Identifying Cloud Features  By Matt Zabel      More Excellent photos
Light Bar Laws
Jet Stream  (NWS) Weather School
Meteorology Dictionary   NWS

2012 National Severe Weather Workshop
March 1,2,3. Norman Oklahoma

National Severe Weather Workshop
March 3, 4, 5. Norman Oklahoma

Current PDF Program Links:
Keynote Address, Mr. Chris Strager
Mississippi Long-track Tornado of April 24, 2010
An EF4 Direct Hit: A Tornado Survivorís Story From Inside the Closet
Flash Flood at Albert Pike Campground
October Record Hail in Arizona
October Tornado Outbreak in Arizona
Session Opening Remarks
Psychological Response to Mass Casualty Disasters
New Opportunities for Public Alerting
 from www.mke-skywarn.org
Central Oklahoma Emergency Management Association Regional Outdoor-
 Warning System Guidelines

September 2009 Atlanta Floods
USGS Georgia Water Science Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Potential increase of flooding hazards over Korea due to global warming
Flash Flood or Backwater? Both are Devastating

NDVI Analysis of Hail Swaths Associated With the May 5, 1995 Parker County and Tarrant County, Texas Hailstorm

Ponca Cityís Project Warn

Characteristics and Estimated Warning Success Rates of QLCS and Supercell-
 Produced Significant Tornadoes in the Southeast United States

The Development of a Storm Damage Estimate Calculator

First-time Mobile Doppler Radar Observations of Have Rain-Producing Thunderstorms in Northwest New Mexico

NWS Fire Weather and Societal Response

Tropical Cyclone Tornado Climatology

A Cooperative Pilot Project on Emergency Management Decision
Support for Winter Weather

Hydrometeorological Prediction Center Web-Based Precipitation/Flash Flood Services

Real-time Estimation of Population Exposure to Weather Hazards

The Latest in Automobile Remote Sensing

CASA Alert! Supporting Emergency Management Decision-making During the May 10, 2010 Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak

Can You See What Iím Saying?  Some Thoughts on a Modified Basic SKYWARN Training Program for the Visually Impaired

NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Operations Update and Applications towards Severe Weather

A Web Map Service for Display of Real-time Satellite Products


National Spotter frequencies  by state
Night Spotting - Skip Voros (WD9HAS)
Non Tornado Homepage  (Tornado Look-alikes)
Quick Study Guide Page 1, Definitions (PDF) - Milwaukee NWS
Quick Study Guide Page 2, Diagrams
Radar Software from Gibson Ridge
Radar Training        NWS Padukah
Radar Training       (126 slides , PowerPoint, 30 Mb)  NWS Pueblo
Radar Training  Part 1       Milwaukee/Sullivan NWS
Radar Training Part 2       Milwaukee/Sullivan NWS
Radar Training from COMET  2012
Reporting Hail - Skip Voros (WD9HAS)
Reporting High Winds - Skip Voros (WD9HAS)

Storm Prediction Center  Maps and product information

Storm Based Polygon Warnings
Spotter Quality Reports   15 Minute Audio-Video, Real Time Player
Spotter Frequencies   In Wisconsin      
2013 Spotter Training Schedules   in Wisconsin

N-W-S SPOTTER TRAINING PROGRAMS links can be in Powerpoint (PPT), Zip files, PDF, or standard web browser presentations. Some programs are very large (equivalent to a DVD and contain video segments.

Spotter Training Program - Birmingham NWS 2011 Basic
Spotter Training Program - Birmingham NWS Graduate Class
Spotter Training Program - Davenport  NWS
Spotter Training Program - Zip file Des Moines NWS
Spotter Training Program - Des Moines NWS
Spotter Training Program - Indianapolis NWS   32 Minute Webshow
Spotter Training Program - Grand Forks NWS
Spotter Training Program -  Advanced Grand Forks NWS
Spotter Training Program - Lincoln Illinois NWS 2011   11.7 MB  PFD  125 slides
Spotter Training Program   Los Angeles NWS
Spotter Training Program - Basic - Milwaukee NWS   2012              PDF
Spotter Training Program - Intermediate  Milwaukee NWS  2012    PDF
Spotter Training Program - Advanced   Milwaukee NWS  2012   PDF
Spotter Training Program - Elite   Milwaukee NWS  2012    PDF
Spotter Training program - Norman NWS  Fall 2012     PDF 131 slides 18 Mb
Spotter & RADAR Training Program - Pueblo NWS     30 Mb PPT
Spotter Training Program - San Diego NWS
SPOTTER TRAINING GUIDE BOOK  38 double sided pages.


Visit the Milwaukee Skywarn YouTube site for over 200 weather related video
clips.   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHOF6LPGHJgbP_a5jeZOwCQ



It is important to note that reviewing the information and slides contained on this web page is NOT considered a substitute to actually attending a spotter training course. This web page is intended to be a supplement to the spotter training courses conducted by the NWS every year. These typically occur in January to March, prior to the main severe weather season. New schedules are released every year around late December or early January. You can check the NWS  News on the home page where information will be provided when spotter schedules are announced.


Why are storm spotters so crucial?
The Doppler radars that the National Weather Service use are extremely useful  in diagnosing thunderstorms. However, they cannot tell us what is occurring in the lowest levels of the storm (i.e. where a tornado would likely occur). This problem is due to the curvature of the Earth; the radar beam will get higher above the surface the further it gets from the radar site. Meteorologists can analyze the radar data and determine whether the storm is a threat, but only spotters can report what is actually happening. Therefore, spotter reports give us crucial information.


What should I report?
In southeast Wisconsin you should report hail over 1" in diameter, wind gusts of 58 mph or more, wind damage, tornadoes, funnel clouds, water spouts, flooding. Click the images below for for hail and wind information.


Here are some reporting tips!
We use spotter reports during severe weather for many things, so it is very important that you be as accurate as possible with your report. Report only what you see - not what you think will happen, etc. Be careful when you choose words to describe what you are seeing, especially related to damage. There is a big difference between a house that is destroyed and a house that just has its roof torn off! Don't overstate the significance of what you are observing. Stick to the facts.

How do I know where to find the severe weather?
Typically you should look for the area where the updraft and downdraft regions of the storm meet. This will vary based on the type of storm you encounter. For a graphical representation of these scenarios, reference the slides below. You can differentiate between an updraft region and a downdraft region based on visual clues. An updraft region will have upward motion, inflow and cloud formation. A downdraft region will have downward motion and outflow; this will be where you usually find hail, wind and rain.

If I'm a mobile spotter, how do I position myself to view the storm safely?
Always position yourself so you have a good view of the updraft region of the storm. This is where severe weather is most likely to occur, and it will keep you out of the downdraft region of the storm where you could be in danger from downburst winds and severe hail. When positioning yourself in the updraft region, be sure not to get too close to the area of rotation/"interest". Always keep yourself a safe distance away and keep your engine running if you stop to observe for a few minutes. Avoid dirt roads.

What should I expect to see and identify on a squall line?
You should have positioned yourself in the updraft region of the storm, in this case along the leading edge of the squall line. In most cases, there will be a shelf cloud present that indicates the boundary between the updraft region and downdraft region of the storm. Tornadoes are infrequent in squall lines; usually the primary threat will come from gusty winds and perhaps hail.



What should I expect to see and identify on a supercell?
If you are in the updraft region of a supercell, then you should have a good view of any of the features shown in the slides below. Review the slides for more information. One of the most common spotter mistakes is reporting scud clouds (non-rotating, ragged clouds below the main cloud base) as funnel clouds or wall clouds. Be sure to watch any feature you suspect may be rotating for several minutes to validate your thinking. Remember, when looking for the "action area" in a supercell, find a rain-free base

Above photo/program originated courtesy of NWS Norman.

Storm Spotter & Chaser Glossary - NOAA
Storm Spotting & Public Awareness - Charles Doswell

Water Spouts -   Wikipedia

 Anemometers (Wind speed)


Why Have Spotters?  - Rusty Kapela, Milwaukee NWS