Weather spotter training held in Eaton


EATON — Nearly 100 people attended a free Weather Spotters training on Monday, March 11.

Preble County Emergency Management Director Suzy Cottingim and Wayne County Emergency Managment Director Matthew Cain welcomed everyone to the training held in the Preble County Fairgrounds Expo Expansion.

“So a few years ago, we decided we would help the National Weather Service out since we’re kind of the areas farthest from their office. And we would share hosting abilities. So last year was at Darke County, this year it’s in Preble County and next year we’d like to see you over in Richmond, if you’d like to attend again,” Cain told those in attendance.

The training focused on the significance of weather spotter training provided by the National Weather Service, emphasizing the importance of involving the community in the training and having trained spotters interpret what they see and help confirm weather events.

Meteorologist Nathan McGinnis from NWS Wilmington gave the two-hour presentation.

It also highlighted the importance of severe weather warning systems and the role of spotters in providing accurate and timely weather observations and reports.

Officials also discussed the importance of effective communication during emergency response operations, emphasizing the value of having a dedicated channel for emergency response and the role of spotters in providing real-time updates on the location and severity of emergencies. The speakers also noted the challenges in identifying and predicting tornadoes, particularly in the Midwest region, and the importance of recognizing differences between shelf clouds, rotating wall clouds, and tornadoes in weather forecasting.

In a Facebook post following the training, Preble County Emergency Management officials thanked those who attended and its presenters, the U.S. National Weather Service in Wilmington and Dayton Skywarn for sharing how they provide support.

Weather Spotter training was provided through a partnership which included Wayne County Emergency Management Agency and Darke County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. Each class lasts about 2 hours and is led by a National Weather Service. Once an individual attends a class, they will receive instructions for registering to officially become a trained spotter. They will then be able to report severe weather to the NWS office.

In addition to in-person basic spotter training classes, the NWS has one remaining virtual spotter training class this year, (Tuesday, May 14, 7-9 p.m.) which can be attended online from any location.

Spotters volunteer to become the “eyes and ears” of the National Weather Service, the course description notes. Spotters serve their community by acting as a valuable source of information when dangerous storms approach. During the webinar, a National Weather Service Meteorologist will teach participants “how to properly identify and report significant weather events that have an impact on the safety of your community, such as damaging winds, hail, heavy rain, and tornadoes.”

Register online for the virtual training at

Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.

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