FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The Skywarn Storm Spotter training began in the 1970s to help provide on-the-ground weather information to the National Weather Service.
Michael Lewis with the Northern Indiana NWS office says even with our technological advances, spotters still play an important role today.
"There's still the limitation of knowing exactly what's happening where people live. To fulfill our mission to saving lives and minimizing loss by issuing those watches and warnings, we need to know what's going on in your backyard," Lewis said.
Helping the NWS, helping your community is something many storm spotters, like Jay Farlow, want to do.
Farlow explained, "I know if i'm out in the field and I see something and i'm the first to report the precursor to a tornado, or an actual funnel cloud, or a touchdown that i might be saving lives downwind of that event, and that's what really drives me to be a storm spotter."
A Skywarn Storm Spotter training session Tuesday at the Public Safety Academy in Fort Wayne is free and open to the public.
During the spotter training course, you'll learn about how tornadoes and hail form, and what to report.
While traditionally taught in the spring, this fall course is offering something new.
"We've realized there is a seasonal need for spotters," Lewis said. "They don't just need spotter reports during severe season in the spring, we actually have a secondary severe season that occurs in the fall and the other reality is winter weather can be just as deadly as some of our spring storms."
So whether it's tornadoes or snow storms, hail or freezing rain that interests you, you'll learn a little of everything Tuesday night, even if you rarely leave your home.
"If you have any interest at all in weather, if you're the kind of person who looks up at the sky when a thunderstorm is coming in and wonders "is that something to be worried about?" This training is for you." Farlow said.