The National Weather Service (NWS) will be holding a SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter Training class on Thursday, April 12, at the Hokah City Hall in Hokah starting at 6:30 p.m.

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

Anyone involved in the safety of others is encouraged to attend, because severe weather safety is included.

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

"Accurate and timely reports of severe weather, by trained individuals, not only helps our office, but can save lives in the local community. This has been proven over and over."

Houston County, as well as other areas of southeast Minnesota, always needs more "eyes" to report severe weather to the National Weather Service.

For further questions, you can contact Houston County Emergency Management at (507) 725-5834 or the National Weather Service online at www.weather.gov/lacrosse, email todd.shea@noaa.gov or call (608) 784-7294.