MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If there’s one thing that Minnesotan’s love to talk about, it’s the weather.

That interest in rain, snow and everything in between has helped us build our Weather Watcher network, which consists of more than 500 viewers telling WCCO what’s happening in their neighborhoods.

Twelve-year-old Baden Larson of Sartell signed up because he wants to become a meteorologist. He’s already practicing building forecasts.

Baden and dozens of others took their interest in weather one step further by visiting WCCO. They got to meet the weather team, take a personal tour of the weather center and see how the Mobile Weather Watcher works.

More importantly, they’re learning to become trained-weather spotters by the National Weather Service.

“I don’t call it a tornado unless it actually hits the ground, because it’s not really called a tornado until it hits the ground,” Larson said. “If it’s just forming, it’s just called a funnel cloud.”

WCCO’s Chief Meteorologist Chris Shaffer says information provided by weather spotters will be crucial when severe storms move in.

“The better we can train people and the more people we can train, the better we can do to keep people safe out there,” Shaffer said.

This summer, Baden will no longer need to make a fake forecast. He’ll be helping our meteorologists create the most accurate one.

You can join our Weather Watcher Network by applying online here.


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