Severe Weather Training 101 at Sleeping Bear Dunes

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Date: April 26, 2017

Interested in being able to recognize approaching weather patterns and report your findings to the National Weather Service (NWS)? If so, as a severe weather spotter, you can play a pivotal role in helping the NWS identify and report dangerous storms that can ultimately tore through an area and cause major damage. In 2015, northern Michigan experienced one of the most costly, severe weather seasons in decades. Tens of millions of dollars in damage occurred when severe thunderstorms ripped across parts of the area in August with 100 mph winds and baseball-size hail. Cleanup from these powerful thunderstorms is still ongoing across portions of northern Michigan as of 2017.

If you are interested in learning more about severe weather, or becoming an official NWS SKYWARN storm spotter, you are encouraged to attend this FREE presentation, open to the public, and lasting about 1 ½ hours by meteorologists from the NWS. Join them on Thursday, May 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center, 9922 Front Street (M-72), Empire, Michigan 49630.

Topics covered this year include 

  • Thunderstorm ingredients
  • Lightning, flood, and hail safety
  • Difference between supercell storms and multicell storms
  • The August 2 severe storms in northern Michigan
  • How tornadoes form
  • NWS warning criteria 
  • What and when to report
  • Cloud formations and things that can fool you
Each person that attends is given a NWS spotter card and information on several online spotter networks.

To see a complete listing of upcoming NWS weather related talks and locations, please visit the NWS Gaylord outreach page at You may also call the NWS office with any questions at 989-731- 3384.

Last updated: April 26, 2017

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Mailing Address:

9922 Front Street
Empire, MI 49630


(231) 326-4700

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