MIAMI — If you would like to know how to identify a potentially dangerous storm or are just interested in weather phenomenon and keeping your friends and family safe, you will want to attend a Skywarn Storm Spotters seminar at the Civic Center banquet hall here on Tuesday, March 19.

The training will begin at 6 p.m. and is open to emergency personnel as well as the general public. It is free and requires no pre-registration.

A trained National Weather Service (NWS) Warning Coordination Meteorologist will share his expertise, including explanations on what severe weather terms mean, how to determine the different characteristics seen in storms, and when to report them as potentially dangerous based on learned identifiers.

“We are glad to partner with the NWS. This is a great opportunity for people to come out and to increase public awareness during storms,” said Miami Chief of Police and Emergency Management Director Thomas Anderson. “We want people to be safe and aware of their surroundings. When warmer weather comes, and lots of people are naturally outside, it helps if they can identify any dangers that could be headed their way.

“The NWS puts this presentation on and we think it is a great service to our community and benefit to our citizens.”

Since the Skywarn program started in the 1960s, Skywarn information, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite data, and other resources, has enabled the NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods.

Skywarn storm spotters form the nation’s first line of defense against severe weather. Each spring the Tulsa office of the NWS trains members of police and fire departments, emergency management officials, amateur radio operators, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and the public at large, on crucial spotting techniques.

The NWS encourages anyone responsible for large groups of people or who work primarily outdoors to become a spotter.

The efforts of these volunteers give communities the precious gift of time — seconds and minutes that can help save lives.

“The ground truth reports of severe weather or cloud structures associated with severe weather are critical to decisions being made during a severe weather event by NWS meteorologists, local emergency management officials, and the media,” said Ed Calianese, NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist.

“Some of the material that will be discussed in this class includes recognizing cloud structures and features associated with severe weather; how to observe storms safely; how to report your observation, and information flow before and during severe weather events. The discussion will include lots of photos and video of severe storms, which are used as examples.”

Throughout northeastern Oklahoma, trained and dedicated individuals monitor the skies around their communities during potentially severe weather events. These storm spotters provide first-hand reports to their local officials, and to the NWS in Tulsa, which are used to make critical warning decisions.

The City of Miami welcomes storm spotters of all ages and invites everyone to attend this event.

“We have people of all ages and interests,” Anderson said. “Some are just interested in weather in general, some are interested in being actual spotters, and some would like to know what to look for in order to notify officials so they can get it reported properly.”

The NWS has put a Powerpoint and video presentation on here annually for several years now and it includes lots of visuals on cloud formations, thunderstorms and their defining characteristics and their potential for becoming tornadic.

“Storm season is coming up quickly and this is just a great outreach to keep our community safe,” Anderson said.

For more information, including the Weather Spotters’ Field Guide, log onto the NWS website at and