For most of Northeast and North Central Texas, the 2014 storm season was comparatively mild — except for April 3 which produced a tornado in the Birthright area and extremely large hail across a band from near Denton to near Sulphur Springs resulting in more than $500 million in damages. With the 2015 storm season rapidly approaching, the Fort Worth National Weather Service office is offering to help area residents prepare for possible inclement weather with a free SKYWARN severe weather program from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Sulphur Springs City Hall. The program will be presented in partnership with Hopkins County Emergency Management and Sulphur Springs Police Department. The class is for official storm spotters as well as anyone with an interest in learning more about severe weather. It is part of an area-wide severe weather preparedness campaign that includes spotter training in 46 counties in Northeast and North Central Texas. This year's program will include discussions on thunderstorm formation, ingredients and features associated with severe and non-severe storms. The program will also discuss non-threatening clues that could possibly be mistaken for significant features of severe weather. More importantly, the program will discuss what an individual can do to keep themselves and others safe when thunderstorms are threatening. Storm spotter operations and reporting procedures will also be discussed in the two-hour presentation through a multi-media presentation featuring new pictures of storms as well as a new video of the 2014 storm season with special emphasis on the weather that affected the area last April. “Once again, we have plenty of new material for the training session,” said Mark Fox, warning coordination meteorologist in the Fort Worth National Weather Service office. “We combine the radar data spotter video to show the 2014 storms in detail, highlighting the subtle, yet important features.” The basic and fundamental purpose of spotter training and the storm spotter network as a whole remains unchanged, according to Tom Bradshaw, meteorologist-in-charge of the Fort Worth office. “Weather radar can only tell us so much,” Bradshaw said. “The trained spotters in the field give important information for the warning process to work effectively.” “By coming to this program, you will learn a lot about thunderstorms,” Fox said. “Even if you don't become an active storm spotter, you will learn about how storms work and the visual clues you can identify when storms are in your area. This will better prepare yourself and your family for the threats that storms pose.” There is no charge for the program and participants do not need to pre-register.