Storm clouds in western Iowa.

Storm clouds in western Iowa.

The first of almost 40 severe weather “spotter” training courses in central Iowa will be held next week.

Kelsey Angle, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says the courses are free and open to all Iowans.

Angle says, “Anybody that has an interest in the weather and an interest in reporting information to the National Weather Service is encouraged to attend a spotter training course.” The instructors are all meteorologists at the weather service and no registration is required ahead of time.

“The courses last generally about 90 minutes,” Angle says. “With that, we will cover what to report, when to report, how to report, how to identify the characteristics of thunderstorms and what a good report is.” While the National Weather Service has trained thousands of Iowans as spotters over the years, he says you can never really have “enough.”

“That is true,” Angle says. “It’s always good, the more eyes and ears that you have on approaching severe weather is always good and quality reports certainly do help in the warning process.” The classes run through mid-April and if you can’t attend one in person, two online versions will be offered on April 2nd and April 19th at 7 P.M.

For a full list of all the upcoming spotter courses, visit: