National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
2020 Spotter Training


Storm spotter training has been completed for the 2020 season. We appreciate those that attended in-person or via remote this year.

In addition, there are several on-line storm spotter training modules and reference materials available:

Do you have questions about SKYWARN or becoming a spotter?  Click here for our SKYWARN FAQ page.  Most sessions are open to the general public with no need to pre-register.  All training is free and usually lasts around 2 hours.

Main NWS La Crosse contact for spotter training is Todd Shea, Warning Coordination Meteorologist.

Last Updated: 4/22/20

Date Time County City Location / Attendance
March 3 6:30 p.m. Houston Caledonia, MN 17 people
March 4 6:30 p.m. Trempealeau Whitehall, WI 33 people
March 9 6:30 p.m. Olmsted Rochester, MN 262 people
March 12 7:00 p.m. Clayton Monona, IA 80 people
March 19 10:00 a.m. ALL ALL Via webinar: 56 attended
March 23 6:30 p.m. ALL ALL Via webinar: 144 attended
April 2 6:30 p.m. ALL ALL Via webinar: 31 attended
April 9 1:00 p.m. ALL ALL Via webinar: 65 attended
April 21 7:00 p.m. ALL ALL Via webinar: 179 attended




Surrounding NWS Forecast Office Spotter Schedules:

Outline of the 2020 Presentation

First Half

  • Introduction to Storm Spotting
  • Information about NWS La Crosse
  • The Spotting Process
  • Sources of weather information
  • NWS Information / Outlooks 
  • Spotter deployment 
  • Spotting locations
  • Stages of the thunderstorm (updraft/downdrafts)
  • Thunderstorm Hazards (Flooding, Lightning, Hail)
  • Downbursts
  • Thunderstorm Wind

Second Half

  • Squall Lines / Shelf Clouds (updated!) 
  • Supercells
  • Elements of the Supercell
  • Wall Clouds
  • Tornado definitions and examples
  • Funnel clouds
  • Challenges to spotters
  • Communication
  • Spotter reporting procedures/guidelines
  • Spotter safety
  • Case examples / review