MyNorth News Service

(Press release provided by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore)

EMPIRE, MI – Severe weather spotters play a pivotal role in helping the National Weather Service (NWS) identify and report dangerous storms that can rip through an area causing major damage such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes severe storm. On August 2, 2015, Northern Michigan experienced thunderstorms with 100 mph winds that knocked down trees and damaged homes and businesses across the region. It caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. As the National Park Service prepares for another 100 years of serving the public, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) staff hope to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all those that visit their national park.

If you are interested in learning more about severe weather or becoming an official NWS SKYWARN Storm Spotter, there will be a free training session, open to the public, and lasting about 1 ½ hours. Pre-registration is not necessary. It will be held at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s Philip A. Hart Visitor Center located at 9922 Front St. (M-72), in Empire on Thursday, April 21 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

This year’s training will include:

  • Thunderstorm ingredients
  • Lightning, flood and hail safety
  • Difference between supercell storms and multicell storms
  • 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 signs up to be a spotter will receive a NWS spotter card and information about several online reporting networks. For further information about spotter training, please go to the following website:

For more in-depth information about the National Lakeshore, please go to Also, check out their Facebook page at, Instagram site at and Twitter site at

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 410 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

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Photo(s) by National Park Service