This article was originally published in 2019 but has been updated in 2021 to include relevant content and additional information.
What is a Storm Chaser?
A storm spotter or storm chaser is a weather enthusiast that either works with their local TV news channel or local National Weather Service office. By getting real-time ground reports from meteorologists and weather reporters out in the field, the broadcast meteorologists and NWS officials can better understand the thunderstorm growth, the direction the storm is moving, and the overall intensity of the storm. These ground reports from reliable sources help spread the word to the community and local responders with the overall goal to help keep people safe, informed, and prepared for potentially severe weather headed their way.
How To Become a Storm Chaser
If you already know you're a weather nerd, but you're wondering how to become a storm spotter or weather reporter, you're not alone! It may be time to get involved with your local weather community.
1. Get on Social Media
Weather enthusiasts are all around, and there are more of us than you think! Now, with social media and a personal weather station, it’s easy to join the local weather conversation. Simply find your favorite local TV meteorologist or news channel on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and start following them. Soon you’ll see weather reports trickling in, and you can add your very own AcuRite weather station data with photos. You may even be mentioned live, on-air! Remember to use #AcuRiteStormSpotter or @AcuRite so other weather nerds can join the conversation!
2. Join Local Weather Watchers Groups
You can take it a step further with one of your local news stations. Some, such as KTBS in Shreveport, Louisiana, have official Weather Watchers programs. With an official form to submit weather data, the Weather Watchers group is able to get the data directly to the meteorologist for use on-air! How’s that for sharing your wireless weather station’s data?
3. Become an Official Storm Spotter with the NWS
The NWS has an ongoing program to train civilians as official storm spotters through SKYWARN training. The NWS welcomes emergency officials, such as police officers and emergency response personnel, and encourages attendance by anyone who may be responsible for the safety of others, like those working in hospitals, schools, or nursing homes. Additionally, concerned private citizens and weather enthusiasts are welcome to join the training to become an official storm spotter! It is a free training with your local NWS office that lasts roughly two hours. So check your local NWS office for and updated list of SKYWARN training sessions. The Weather Spotter Field Guide and the SKYWARN Fact Sheet are great places to start.
4. Use AcuRite Weather Technology
Most weather nerds out there monitor weather right at their home to keep an eye on the weather trends and monitor for any drastic changes like sudden drops in pressure or strong wind gusts. Weather enthusiasts choose either the AcuRite Iris™ (5-in-1) or the AcuRite Atlas®, both wireless and Wi-Fi weather stations that are ideal for home weather monitoring. But while the storm chasers are out tracking storms, AcuRite also has them covered! AcuRite’s portable weather devices allow storm chasers and storm spotters to report real-time data on storm conditions such as the number of lightning strikes detected and maximum wind gusts.