When severe weather strikes, storm chasers and storm spotters confirm that what forecasters and meteorologists are seeing on a radar screen is actually occurring in the field. While some documenters are classically trained (i.e. they have a background in atmospheric science and or meteorology attained from a 4 year university) many others are not. There are currently two organizations available for the weather enthusiast to be a part of, SKYWARN and SpotterNetwork. These organizations give weather enthusiasts a background knowledge into severe weather; however, many weather enthusiasts are not classically trained and most have not taken any formal education in the fields of atmospheric science. By creating a survey questionnaire the differences in educational training, as well as an analysis of the numerous aspects and characteristics of a severe weather observer, was documented to discern if this training had any effect on their geographic distribution during severe weather events. Using the statistical tests Chi-Squared, ANOVA (Analysis of Variance), and Correlation Analysis, the results from the survey questionnaire were analyzed. Chi-Squared analysis was used to examine if any of the variables (questions asked on the survey) were relatable to a severe weather documenter having a four year degree in atmospheric science and or meteorology. ANOVA examined the statistical relationship between a severe weather documenter's confidence level in his or her background knowledge in atmospheric science versus their educational background. Correlation analysis examined if a severe weather documenter's confidence in their background of atmospheric science knowledge, as well as their education level, influenced their range of travel during severe weather events.


Forrest Wilkerson

Committee Member

Ginger Schmid

Committee Member

Cynthia Miller

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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