The Elmore County EMA will host a SKYWARN Basic Weather Spotter class at the county’s administrative complex from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 30. Meteorologists with the Birmingham Office of the National Weather Service (NWS) will conduct the free class.

“As of (Sept. 17), 20 people have signed up online,” Elmore County EMA director Keith Barnett said. “I speculate many more will attend. I would love to have 100 people attend. We are grateful the weather service is coming to down to host a live class.”

There are two other locations in the area where this class will take place — Opelika and Phenix City.

The two-hour class will cover a variety of topics including an overview of the National Weather Service, what is required of a trained weather spotter and how to properly deliver the information gathered.

“The class will help people understand cloud formations so they do not unnecessarily panic if they see a scud cloud in the sky,” Barnett said. “This is really a good class for everyone to attend. It makes the public more aware.”

After tragic weather events that occurred in the area — the January tornado — Barnett may well have a full room of attendees.

Interested individuals may find more information and sign up by contacting the EMA office at 334-567-6451 or visiting

SKYWARN is a NWS program developed in the 1960s that consists of trained weather spotters who provide reports of severe and hazardous weather to help meteorologists make life-saving warning decisions.