Want to contribute to science and perhaps help save lives and property during severe weather?
Become a storm spotter.
You don't have to chase tornadoes. You don't have to stand in the rain and hail. You don't need a license or a degree.
Instead, you simply take a class on the characteristics of stormy weather and the types of information the National Weather Service needs.
Then, when severe weather hits, you keep your eyes peeled for storm activity and phone it in to the weather service.
Sometimes, simply taking the class and giving the weather service your phone number is enough. If the weather service sees suspicious weather activity in your area but isn't certain what's happening, they can call and ask you.
Here's why weather spotters are crucial: Meteorologists can draw broad conclusions from radar and other equipment about what is happening across hundreds of miles. However, they are dependent on eyewitness reports from hundreds of spotters to know what is actually happening on the ground.
A number of sessions were held in March in preparation for severe weather season, but plenty of April classes remain.
In eastern Nebraska, the remaining sessions are tonight in Bellevue, Saturday in Saline County, Tuesday in Blair, April 6 in Lincoln and April 16 in Lyons.
In southwest Iowa, the sessions include April 4 in Glenwood.
Tonight's Bellevue session is at 7 p.m. at the Fire Training Academy, 3100 Cornhusker Road.
For information on any of the above sessions, contact weather service meteorologist Brian Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
In south-central Nebraska, April sessions are scheduled for Loup City, Aurora, Holdrege and Grand Island. Contact meteorologist Mike Moritz at email@example.com.
In northern and western Nebraska, the contact is meteorologist Teresa Keck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She has nine sessions scheduled in April at O'Neill, Hayes Center, Arnold, Bartlett, Stapleton, Hershey, Mullen, Gordon and Hay Springs.
In the Panhandle, four sessions remain: Hemingford, Kimball, Fort Robinson and Alliance. For information, contact meteorologist John Griffith at email@example.com.
To attend the McCook, Trenton or Benkelman class, call the weather service at 785-899-7119.
For information on classes in Sioux City, Storm Lake, Sheldon or Milford, Iowa, contact meteorologist Todd Heitkamp at Todd.Heitkamp@noaa.gov
Source: National Weather Service