92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 1:30 PM
Enriching the Modern Day Storm Spotter Through Technology & Education Enhancements
Room 243 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Joshua J. Jans, Spotter Network, Austin, TX; and C. S. Keen
Manuscript (881.0 kB)

Poster PDF (29.0 MB)

The rapid adaption of web-enabled devices combined with the widespread availability of 3G cellular networks has ushered in a paradigm shift in the storm spotter community. Smart phones, tablets, and laptops have enabled spotters to take advantage of Web 2.0 applications (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps, etc.) to communicate in real time with geo-located storm reports and tracking information. These advances have, however, highlighted ongoing challenges new and old within the spotter community that continues to be fragmented under the current NWS SKYWARN® Program (the largest spotter program in the nation). Challenges include differing reporting procedures and methods, lack of national training metrics and certification, and a nonexistent national registry of spotters and qualifications.

This paper brings a timely focus on the need for a nationally connected spotter network operating under a common educational and communication framework that is sensitive to regional and/or local hazards. With weather hazards becoming more topical and public safety evermore critical, weather spotters need to know more than the basics of cloud identification to be effective in the social community. The role of the ‘Storm Spotter' needs a new recognition with expanded training opportunities to be a multi-hazard intelligence resource during times of disasters.

Supplementary URL: http://training.spotternetwork.org/documents/AMS2012_Final.pdf