The first of four storm spotter training sessions in the area is coming up next week.
The National Weather Service uses the sessions, which are free, to teach people how to safely identify severe weather and feed information back to them. Spotters are taught to tell the difference between different types of storms and tell whether the storm is likely to produce dangerous conditions.
The first session is at Centerville City Hall at 6 p.m. March 12. Other sessions follow at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa (6:30 p.m. April 2), the Albia fire station (7 p.m. April 9) and Marion County Public Health (7 p.m. April 11).
Each training session lasts between 90 and 120 minutes. People who are already registered as spotters can also take part in training webinars that cover the same basic information as the regular training sessions.
Trained spotters may also want to take part in the advanced class. It focuses on mobile spotting and teaching a deeper understanding of how "meso scale and storm scale meteorology" relates to spotting. The advanced class is offered both as an in-person class in Ankeny on April 11 and a webinar on April 16.
Information about all of the scheduled classes is available by clicking here.