ST. LOUIS – You don’t need to be a meteorologist to help save lives during weather events. That’s according to St. Louis National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Beitscher, who has helped teach hundreds, if not thousands, of people how to spot storms.

“These storm spotters are really essential for us to get ground truth on what’s happening,” Beitscher said.

Beitscher is teaching people how to take photos and videos of storms and then report that information to the National Weather Service. The information can help NWS meteorologists during active weather events and help them predict future events.

“We also use the information going forward to train ourselves and get better at what we do in protecting life and property,” he said.

About 35 people attended Tuesday night’s class at the Carpenter St. Louis Public Library. Peter McNeally was attending a class for the first time.

“If there are other storm spotting classes, free classes, or anything like that, I would certainly like to attend and learn what I can,” McNeally said.

This was the last class of the year for the St. Louis NWS. This year, they’ve hosted 30 classes throughout the region’s 46 counties.