The National Weather Service (NWS) is holding a SKYWARN severe weather spotter training class in Decorah Tuesday, March 26.

The training is at Decorah City Hall starting at 6:30 p.m.

The class last about two hours and includes a multimedia presentation. Training is intended for storm spotters or potential storm spotters, but is open to the public and free of charge. A review of significant weather that hit the region in 2011 and 2012 will be included.

The NWS relies heavily on actual storm reports from "spotters," which can include sheriff's departments, local emergency management officials, police and fire departments, amateur radio operators or anyone else that has attended one of these classes.

These reports can prompt warnings that save lives, which has been proven many times through the years when severe weather strikes.

Todd Shea, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS in La Crosse, Wis., organizes the training each year and encourages large groups and active volunteers to attend.

"Accurate and timely reports of severe weather by trained individuals not only helps our office, but can save lives in the local community. We always need more eyes to the sky," he said.

Winneshiek County, as well as other areas of Northeast Iowa, always needs more "ground-truth" weather reports to pass along to the NWS, Shea said.

For more information, contact Winneshiek County Emergency Management or Shea at