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2017 Winter Spotter Class Schedule

Significant winter storms and blizzards are no stranger to the High Plains. Adverse winter weather conditions, such as hazardous road conditions, visibility less than a quarter mile, extreme cold temperatures, and high winds, are likely to occur at some point during a typical High Plains winter. These impacts lead to accidents on area roadways, people stranded, tree and structure damage, and downed power lines, all of which endanger lives.

We need YOU to help protect travelers, friends, and family from these dangerous winter conditions! By providing the National Weather Service with ground-truth reports, our team can better warn all of those impacted. Winter weather reports, in real-time as the event unfolds, are invaluable and help our forecasters and radar operators stay on top of the situation.  For many decades, storm spotters have provided vital information to the National Weather Service.  Doppler radar and satellite imagery are great remote-sensing tools which allow our meteorologists to assess weather as it unfolds. However, accurate ground-truth storm reports from spotters play an integral role in determining hazard products issued, updates provided, and any changes to the outgoing weather message.

NWS meteorologists, storm spotters, local emergency officials, and the media worked as a team to protect lives and property during major winter weather events that impact the High Plains. A few notable events include:

  • April 29-30, 2017 Blizzard (Presidential Disaster Declaration)
  • January 15-16, 2017 Ice Storm
  • February 1-2, 2016 Blizzard
  • November 17, 2015 Blizzard
  • March 22-24, 2013 Blizzard
  • February 20-22, 2013 Winter Storm
  • December 2006 Blizzard and Ice Storm (2 separate events within 2 weeks)
  • Thanksgiving Weekend Blizzard of 2005

For the fall of 2017, the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Goodland, KS is trying something brand new! We are offering winter spotter classes in all 19 counties in the Tri-State area.  The first class will be held Monday, September 18th in Sharon Springs, Kansas.  Classes will continue most weekday evenings through September and October until the final class on Monday, October 23rd in Atwood, Kansas.

These interesting and informative classes are open to the public of all ages and are offered free of charge.  If you would like to serve your local community by becoming a volunteer winter weather spotter, or if you simply want to learn more about winter safety and winter weather on the High Plains, consider attending one of our classes. All classes will last approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.  Topics will include:

  • How to measure and report snowfall and ice accumulation
  • Winter weather safety tips and information
  • Understanding social media reports and reliable information sources
  • Upcoming changes to NWS winter weather products, and
  • Practicing snow measurements and reporting (be sure to bring your devices as we will practice reporting!)

Your reports assist the NWS, emergency managers, and emergency responders so we can protect you and your community!

The National Weather Service and county emergency managers have completed the storm spotter class schedule for this year.  Check out the calendar below for the date and location of a spotter talk near you!  Call 785-899-7119 with any questions about spotter classes, content and locations.


All classes are at 630 pm Local Time!