New Hampshire's armchair meteorologists can train to become official observers for the National Weather Service over the next two weeks.
Winter trainings for the weather service Skywarn program are scheduled in Manchester on Tuesday night, and in Plymouth on Nov. 7. Trainings are also held in Maine, and before the summer season.
Spotters learn to identify weather phenomena and measure things like snow, rain, floods and storm damage. Meteorologist Donny Dumont says the data they collect is a vital help for forecasters at the region's central weather station in Gray, Maine.
"There's nothing better than seeing what's happening on the ground, and we don't have the ability to do that, obviously, from one location,” he says. “So we really, really depend on our spotters."
There are around 1,000 weather spotters currently active in New Hampshire and Maine, he says.