General References

Updated 04 May 2024

In addition to the program documentation on this website, the link below is a MUST READ for all spotters participating in the Sullivan Committee programs:

Spotter Do's and Don'ts

Other References

The internet holds a vast amount of knowledge concerning weather theory, spotting techniques and other useful weather related information.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, below is a set of links that will hopefully answer a good portion of the questions that are out there.  But…if you have something to add or experience a broken/incorrect link in the list below please contact us with your suggestions or corrections.


The material at the links indicated below is provided for reference only.  The Sullivan Committee, the Sullivan Committee Webmaster and the sponsor of this website assume no responsibility or liability for the material content presented at the links indicated below.


Personal safety, common sense and adherence to all statutory mandates where specified is a must.


In recent years there has been an increase in the exposure of the activity of “storm chasing” in the media and in the movies.  This exposure can be met and interpreted with mixed reviews.  There is a distinct difference between “storm chasing” and “storm spotting” activities.

Storm spotting” involves observing and reporting from safe, fixed locations.

Storm chasing” involves observing and reporting while moving in vehicles along roadways.

Where applicable and in alignment with the agency being supported, the volunteer programs developed and managed by the Sullivan Committee advocate, and are developed with the emphasis on, “storm spotting” activities over “storm chasing” activities.

Safety first, and educate before you participate!


Although many of the references titles below say “storm chasing”, the information contained in the references below apply to “storm spotting” as well.

General Information

NOAA/NWS Weather Forecast Office - Milwaukee WI – we would be amiss if we did not include the served agency/office’s website on this page, let alone make it the first on the list…

NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center - trust us - look at it.  Too many things to discuss here…

NWS JetStream Online Weather School – a great resource for learning the basics about weather theory.

National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) – another great resource for learning the basics about weather theory, more specifically aimed at severe weather and storms. 

Tornadoes, Thunderstorms, and other Types of Severe Weather - a discussion about observing severe weather and different types to look for.

Avoiding Bad Weather While Traveling – The kids at The Brenham Community Center in Brenham, TX came across this one when researching for a project about educating people about how to be safe in bad weather (an important topic for them after Hurricane Harvey.)  Great summary and links to some plain – English references on several relevant topics.

Scary Looking Cloud Club – a fun, yet very informative and useful web resource for what do to when viewing those “scary looking clouds”

Common Risks Faced by Teen Drivers and How to Manage Them – Felix Smith passed another safe driving/weather related article focused on the new/teen driver.  Located on the website.

Teen Safety in the Driver's Seat – Located by Jess Harmon, another page with some great tips and references focused on the new/teen driver, but like other references shown here are appropriate for all ages.  Located on the website.

Emergency Preparedness Kits for Car Emergencies – provided by Blake Bass in support of his Weather Merit Badge for Boy Scouts. 

Ten Car Maintenance Skills Every Driver Should Know  - provided by Josie Kelly.  Josie found this resource when working on her Car Care Girl Scout badge.

Cyclones, Typhoons, and Hurricanes, oh my! The Dangers of Sailing on Open Waters – A newsletter authored by Cruise Direct.  The newsletter has some excellent resources listed throughout, including information on typhoons and tsunamis.  The page was forwarded by Eve (age 11 in 2019) and her science tutor Ben while Eve was working on her first science project.

Storm Spotting Information

After reading the “Spotter Do’s and Don’ts” page, here are some links involving storm spotting / chasing information. Please keep in mind that your personal safety is the most important part of weather observation!

Tornadoes Impacting Interstates: Service and Societal Considerations - written by a couple of forecasters at the Topeka, KS NWS Forecast Office addressing tornadoes crossing interstates.  This is the first research that was seen in the wake of 2009's compromise national tornado safety messaging with the American Red Cross, FEMA and the NWS

Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy, and Responsibility – A re-print of Chuck Doswell's discussion of storms, with emphasis on personal safety

Irresponsible Media Storm Chase Practices - a discussion by Chuck Doswell and Roger Edwards about how not to behave in the field

Severe Weather & Storm Chasing - an online presentation in web format

Storm Chase Ethics - an online essay by Alan Moller

The Non-Tornado Home Page - an online set of pictures showing tornado “lookalikes.”  A very good page explaining what people may wrongly identify as tornadoes.  These and other examples are also known around the Milwaukee Forecast Office’s County Warning Area as “Scary Looking Clouds

The Human Effects of Lightning Strikes and Recommendations for Storm Chasers - an online discussion of how dangerous lightning is, and what a lightning strike can do to an observer's body

Equipment Information

Here is some information concerning weather radar, satellites, and other instruments used to observe and predict weather events.

NWS Warning Decision Training Division - take a look.  Information on the WSR-88D, AWIPS and other tools used by the agency

Weather Radar Identification - a discussion about how weather in the field appears on radar

Weather Graphics Technologies - online documentation and programs for weather forecasting