Hurricane Sandy's flooding

An abandoned car sits in deep water on Cromwell Bridge Road in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / October 30, 2012)

Certified weather spotters across the country helped provide much of the data proving the strength of Hurricane Sandy and the effects of this week's nor'easter. Baltimore is hosting an opportunity for those who want to join in the weather watching in future storms.

The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management is hosting the National Weather Service for a Skywarn training class Jan. 9. The weather service's Skywarn basics class prepares weather watchers to report possible tornadoes, severe storms, heavy winds and flooding.

Upon completing the class, which typically lasts a few hours, attendees are assigned spotter numbers they can use to report severe weather to the weather service.

The class is offered up to a couple dozen times over the year across the weather service's Baltimore/Washington area, but because that footprint includes most of Maryland, the District of Columbia and much of northern and central Virginia, it is offered only a handful of times in the Baltimore area each year.

The class will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the city's public safety training facility at 3500 W. Northern Parkway. Those interested in attending should sign up by e-mailing C.P. Hsia in the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management at chi-poe.hsia@baltimorecity.gov.

Meanwhile, Skywarn classes on winter storms are being held over the next few weeks in Allegany, Washington and Prince George's Counties. Visit the weather service's website for more information on upcoming classes.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.