Weather watchers wanted: Free training for NWS Severe Weather Spotter

January 21, 2011
Santa Paula News

If you love looking at the clouds, rush to your rain gauge during storms, check storm updates online and have one ear glued to the television during serious weather events the National Weather Service has a program for you: become a Severe Weather Spotter!

Free Severe Weather Spotter Training will be held Wednesday, February 16 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in the Limoneira Pavilion at 55 S. Hallock Drive.

“This free training is open to the public and will be provided by the National Weather Service,” said Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness coordinator. Lazenby noted the trainer is Joe Sirard, “a meteorologist for the National Weather Service and a Santa Paula resident.

“Would you like to learn more about the local weather? Do you like serving your community during times of need? If you have answered yes to these two questions,” he added, “then you are invited to the Santa Paula Severe Weather Spotter Training!”

Lazenby said those who complete the training “become part of your community’s early detection system. These sessions are most appropriate for individuals who work in public safety,” whether in emergency management, police, fire, public works, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and daycare facilities, “but anyone who is interested is encouraged to attend” and to become a certified Weather Spotter.

Attendees at the February 16 training will learn to become an “integral part of a community’s frontline, early weather warning system. Learn why we need spotters, severe weather terminology, what to report, and severe weather safety.”

Weather spotters learn about cloud shapes and their meanings, how to identify the different types of flow and early warnings of flooding incidents, and how best to describe the size of hail when reporting events to the National Weather Service, among other subjects. Upon completion of Weather Spotter training, attendees can become certified Weather Spotters who will receive a card bearing the spotter’s numerical identification used for reporting weather incidents directly to the National Weather Service.

There is no charge for the training or to become a National Weather Service Severe Weather Spotter. To sign up for the training or for more information call 805-933-4297 and leave a message, or email Lazenby at

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