National Weather Service hosts storm spotter training in Rochester

(ABC 6 News) – After the severe storms our area saw Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, it is important to remember how to be safe during times of severe weather and how to spot and report severe weather.

The National Weather Service of La Crosse (NWS) held a storm spotter training Wednesday night for both local law enforcement and the public to learn about how to report storms and how to stay safe while storm spotting.

The weather never stops and that’s why NWS emphasizes the importance of storm spotters, or people who are trained to observe and report severe weather.

"They help us overcome some of the limitations of technology and give us important ground truth information. What exactly is happening at ground level. Technology can’t always tell us that," Mike Kurz, Lead Forecaster at NWS La Crosse, said.

Kurz said storm spotters add credibility to the warnings that NWS sends out in times of severe weather.

Over 70 people were trained on Wednesday on how to identify certain storm features like clouds with thunderstorms and tornados.

Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement were present along with local weather enthusiasts like Colby Jensen.

Jensen said he came to the training session on Wednesday so he could learn more about severe weather, what to report and what not to report.

"People can understand that this is nothing to mess with. You got to take it seriously. It’s nothing you have to joke around with," Jensen said.

Events like the severe weather our region saw Tuesday night emphasize how important it is to have storm spotters.

"Always pay attention to the forecast and always have multiple means to get warning information," Kurz said. "One of the things we also cover in our storm spotter training is also just general thunderstorm safety, severe weather safety that really everybody needs to know."

After the two-hour storm spotter training session, you are considered an official trained spotter.

Future NWS La Crosse spotter training sessions can be found here.