Lightning, Hail, and Tornados

Severe storms come in many forms in Naperville. In spring, the beasts to battle are severe thunderstorms and their after-effects, including tornados. Many rely on warnings from the National Weather Service to prepare for storms.

“The National Weather Service is responsible for issuing warnings for severe storms and tornados in this area,” said Jim Allsopp, Warning Coordination Metereologist for the National Weather Service’s Romeoville location. “Doppler radar gives us a lot of good information about where the storms are and what the potential is, but we never know what’s going on on the ground until an eye witness reports it in.”

National Weather Service meteorologists train volunteers to be better eyewitnesses. Around 3,000 people attend training workshops each year, so there are about 10,000 trained spotters in the area. At the trainings meteorologists teach how to recognize different types of storms and how to report them.

More than 100 people attended the most recent Severe Storm Spotter training at the Naperville Municipal Center. Each person had their own reasons for wanting to learn more about storms.

“I’m attending Valparaiso University next year to major in meteorology, and I wanted to become a trained spotter so I could not just look at storms, but know what’s going on,” said Russell Danielson, a Burr Ridge resident.

“I’m fascinated with the weather,” said Gayle O’Day, a Naperville resident. “I always have been, ever since I was young and a tornado actually went over our house.”

National Weather Service employees ask spotters to re-train every couple of years, to make sure the volunteers are up-to-date with their storm knowledge.

The National Weather Service hosts a number of trainings each spring. They also have an advanced training, but this year’s has already happened. For a complete list of training dates, visit the National Weather Service’s Website at


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