Updated 1 May 2017
In addition to the program documentation on this website, the link below is a MUST READ for all spotters participating in the Sullivan Committee programs:
Spotter Do's and Don'ts
The internet holds a vast amount of knowledge concerning weather theory, spotting techniques and other useful weather related information.
Rather than re-invent the wheel, below is a set of links that will hopefully answer a good portion of the questions that are out there.
!! IMPORTANT !!
The material at the links indicated below is provided for reference only. The Sullivan Committee, the Sullivan Committee Webmaster and the sponsor of this website assume no responsibility or liability for the material content presented at the links indicated below.
!! IMPORTANT !!
Personal safety, common sense and adherence to all statutory mandates where specified is a must.
!! IMPORTANT !!
In recent years there has been an increase in the exposure of the activity of “storm chasing” in the media and in the movies. This exposure can be met and interpreted with mixed reviews. There is a distinct difference between “storm chasing” and “storm spotting” activities.
“Storm spotting” involves observing and reporting from safe, fixed locations.
“Storm chasing” involves observing and reporting while moving in vehicles along roadways.
Where applicable and in alignment with the agency being supported, the volunteer programs developed and managed by the Sullivan Committee advocate, and are developed with the emphasis on, “storm spotting” activities over “storm chasing” activities.
Safety first, and educate before you participate!
Although many of the references titles below say “storm chasing”, the information contained in the references below apply to “storm spotting” as well.
NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office - Milwaukee WI – we would be amiss if we did not include the served agency/office’s website on this page, let alone make it the first on the list…
NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center - trust us - take a look at it. Too many things to discuss here…
NWS JetStream Online Weather School – a great resource for learning the basics about weather theory. Courtesy of the Southern Region Office of the National Weather Service
Severe Weather Reference – a great general reference for several topics. Lists references from several key sources. Page listing is courtesy of MJJ Sales and was found by Sarah Washington of the Valley Book Club.
Driving your Car in Bad Weather - Tips from the Experts – Danielle, a student participating in one of the After Skool Kids programs in Grand Junction, CO let us know about this resource. In the article are great references to other general articles on emergency preparedness, driving safety and other appropriate topics. The article and web references are courtesy of Kanetix, Ltd. an insurance company based in Toronto, Ontario Canada
Winter & Severe Weather Driving for Cars and Motorcycles – Samantha, a college intern at Good Morning Chicago passed us this link from the motosport.com website – another good page that offers safe driving tips when operating automobiles or motorcycles (and probably would apply while operating other vehicles as well….)
Common Risks Faced by Teen Drivers and How to Manage Them – Felix Smith passed another safe driving/weather related article focused on the new/teen driver. Located on the carinsurance.org website.
Teen Safety in the Driver's Seat – Located by Jess Harmon, another page with some great tips and references focused on the new/teen driver, but like other references shown here are appropriate for all ages. Located on the www.shearcomfort.com website.
A Essential Guide to Car Emergency Kits – provided by a Girl Scout troop in the Central California Council - some great tips on creating a car emergency kit. Located on the Titlemax website.
Storm Spotting Information
After reading the “Spotter Do’s and Don’ts” page, here are some links involving storm spotting / chasing information. Please keep in mind that your personal safety is the most important part of weather observation!
Tornadoes Impacting Interstates: Service and Societal Considerations - written by a couple of forecasters at the Topeka, KS NWS Forecast Office addressing tornadoes crossing interstates. This is the first research that was seen in the wake of 2009's compromise national tornado safety messaging with the American Red Cross, FEMA and the NWS
Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy, and Responsibility - Chuck Doswell's discussion of storms, with emphasis on personal safety
Irresponsible Media Storm Chase Practices - a discussion by Chuck Doswell and Roger Edwards about how not to behave in the field
Severe Weather & Storm Chasing - an online presentation in web format
Storm Chase Ethics - an online essay by Alan Moller
Online Charts of Beaufort and Enhanced Fujita Scales - an online chart of scales used to measure wind speeds, and tornado strength, respectively. The link to the Fujita information is at the bottom of the page
The Non-Tornado Home Page - an online set of pictures showing tornado “lookalikes.” A very good page explaining what people may wrongly identify as tornadoes. These and other examples are also known around the Milwaukee Forecast Office’s County Warning Area as “Scary Looking Clouds”
The Human Effects of Lightning Strikes and Recommendations for Storm Chasers - an online discussion of how dangerous lightning is, and what a lightning strike can do to an observer's body
Here are some links to weather theory information on the internet. Materials here include how rain is formed, how storms form, and how forecasts are determined.
Structure and Dynamics of Supercell Thunderstorms - an online essay of how supercells form and behave. Courtesy of the Louisville, KY NWS Forecast Office
Convective Season Parameters and Indices - an online essay of how we measure the atmosphere and examine its conditions. Another publication from the Louisville, KY NWS Weather Forecast Office
Tornadoes, Thunderstorms, and other Types of Severe Weather - a discussion about observing severe weather and different types to look for
Where do I Find a Severe Weather Glossary? - a online glossary of all sorts of weather terms. This updated link reference was provided by educator Sarah Hill. Thanks, Sarah!
What is a Tornado? - Chuck Doswell's definition of a tornado, and other terms
Here is some information concerning weather radar, satellites, and other instruments used to observe and predict weather events.
NWS Warning Decision Training Branch - take a look. Information on the WSR-88D, AWIPS and other tools used by the agency
Weather Radar Identification - a discussion about how weather in the field appears on radar
Weather Graphics Technologies - online documentation and programs for weather forecasting