As the spring days continue, everyone knows weather changes come as well. At times that has the potential to include severe weather, whether that means strong thunderstorms, high winds or even tornadoes.

While technology exists allowing meteorologists to keep track of the weather, officials in those roles also depend on people across the state known as weather spotters. These individuals have received training to know what to look for as weather approaches.

According to Todd Krause, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Minnesota, the purpose of these weather spotters is to provide information regarding severe weather in an effort to best inform the public and keep them safe.

The training program, known as SKYWARN, is being offered in Redwood County this coming Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. at the Clements fire hall. The training, which is being provided by the National Weather Service, is being hosted by the Clements Fire Department and Redwood County Emergency Management.

Krause said a number of weather spotters in communities across the state come from groups, such as fire departments and law enforcement agencies, SKYWARN is offered to anyone who has an interest in the weather and helping keep their communities safe.

“By the end of the training those who attend have a basic understanding of how and why tornadoes form,” said Krause, adding they watch videos during the training that help them know what to look for as it relates to severe weather.

There are no specific requirements needed to take the class, and there is no cost to participate. Krause said the training typically lasts approximately two hours.

“These weather spotters watch for storms and then let us know what is going on, so that we can relay that information out to the world,” said Krause.

Krause said it is a good idea for communities to have several individuals trained as weather spotters to ensure someone is always available to watch the skies. He added it is also valuable for those who live in the country to receive training as well, as many times those who live outside of town have no other way to be informed about what is going on as it is happening.

“People who hear that severe weather has been seen or that a weather spotter has actually seen a tornado touchdown are much more likely to seek shelter,” said Krause, adding that is an important element of security for the public to have.

On behalf of the National Weather Service, Krause expressed his appreciation to those who serve in the role as weather spotters, adding the active reporting they provide can make all the difference in saving lives during severe weather.

Anyone who has an interest in the weather is encouraged to attend the SKYWARN training April 25 to learn more about becoming a weather spotter. For more information, visit

Photo courtesy of the National Weather Service