TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - During the monsoon or other severe weather, southern Arizonans get weather warnings on their phones and they have more than just the professionals to thank for those, there are a few ‘non-pros’ involved too.
Every year thousands of volunteers are trained to become 'weather spotters' and they help the National Weather Service and local meteorologists to create even more accurate weather reports.
One such class was held on Saturday, May 18 at the University of Arizona with several people attending.
David Niegocki and his son Spencer have always loved tracking the weather and are learning about what and when to alert the Weather Service of any activity.
"We're outside a lot, we bike a lot, we pay attention to whats going on we've got a rain gauge," said Niegocki. "Ya know we might be excited about that storm or rain but if its not severe and not going to cause any damage, no need to report it."
“Our radar can only see so much, so we really need people to help us with the ground truth, what is actually happening on the ground,” according to Glenn Nader, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service Tucson.
The 90-minute sessions cover all sorts of weather phenomenon, from recognizing cloud formations to wind speeds, to flash flood predicting.
"We live out in the Three Points area and I've been seeing this stuff on Facebook for a couple of years saying I'm going to go to that," said Cher Williams, another weather spotter in training.
According to Williams the class gives her a chance to give back.
"We see a lot of weather, and we watch it come in and watch it go, so its nice to know I can be of help."
Help getting storm alerts out faster, with a chance to save lives.
“People love weather, they love observing it, they love seeing it, and then of course they want to be a great member of the community,” said Nader. “And that’s what the folks who take the spotter training are.”
The next advanced weather spotter class will be held by the Weather Service on June 1 at noon in the ENRB 2 building in Room S107.
Check out the time and location for other sessions here.