Community weathers 3-hour storm spotter class

Caleb Riley

Adam Brothers, a senior marketing and management double major and the Student Government Association’s chief justice, added storm spotter to his extensive resume.

About 10 students and 30 adults from the Evansville community became certified storm spotters during a class March 19, in University Center East.

“I have always been somewhat interested in the weather, so to have a better understanding of severe weather is a good thing to have,” Brothers said.

USI’s Office of Risk Management and Safety organized two events on campus.

One was a Severe Weather Awareness Program, which included exhibitions by Dr. Ray Nicholson of the Vanderburgh County Health Department, and Wayne Hart, who is the chief meteorologist at Eyewitness News.

The other was a storm spotter class, which Brothers took part in.

“The fact that it was a free certification class right here on campus was a big selling point,” said Brothers, who was presented a (National Weather Service) SKYWARN Spotter Concepts 1 & 2 certification by Hart.

The only prerequisite for becoming a certified storm spotter was attending the three-hour class.

Brothers said the certification proves his knowledge of precursors to severe weather and allows him to report his observations to the NWS and to the news so they can tailor severe weather watches and warning.

“It is good information to learn that could potentially save your life in a severe weather event,” said Brothers, who does not plan to go into a weather-related field. “Plus the information that you report might help save someone else’s life.”

Environmental Health and Safety Manager Bryan Morrison agrees.

“It is important to have as many trained storm spotters as possible to increase the chances of timely and accurate weather reporting to the NWS,” Morrison said. “This in turn can save lives.”

According to SKYWARN’s website, since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, and has enabled the NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. 

Storm spotter certification is a good training to have,” Morrison said. “Regardless of your occupation, age or level of education.”