Weather Forecasting School

Norman, Oklahoma

Frequently asked questions

Where is the class located?
Classes are held on the east side of Norman, Oklahoma. Directions will be provided in a PDF information kit that will be e-mailed to you when we confirm your registration.

What is the class seating like?
We have 4 seats in each class, each with a leather-padded adjustable office chair and access to a power outlet. If we get into an overbooking situation, we may provide the last registrants with a fifth or sixth spot in the back of the room on a couch, though table space will be limited to a tray table. If we can only offer the couch, we will let you know at the time of confirmation and you may decline the registration and receive a refund. Overall, the seating arrangement is first-come first-serve. Anyone is welcome to take the couch if no one has it booked.

What do I need to know? Do I have to have a degree or know advanced math?
No previous experience or education are required. In fact about 50 to 75% of attendees have only a rudimentary understanding of the material, and the rest are a mix of returning students and professionals looking to sharpen their skills. All courses are adapted to meet the skill levels and interests of the class. If you wish to prepare for the class, we'll be glad to suggest some reading material upon request. A good start is any of Tim Vasquez's forecast books at the site.

What is the expected attire and format of the class?
Street clothes are fine. The classroom is kept at a comfortable 75 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter. The class format is very informal, and you may come and go during the class, arrive late, and depart early, and step out for phone calls at any time. If you're wanting technical certification, absences are not counted against you in any way, though you may miss some of the material that you'll need to know. Cell phone calls and extended texting sessions during lecture sessions will need to be taken outside. The building is a no-smoking area, but you may smoke outside in the parking area as long as wildfire precautions are observed and extinguished materials are kept in your vehicle.

How late can I register?
If the class is not full, you can register right up to the morning when class starts. However if you register on the same day, please include an e-mail address or cell phone number with working voicemail where you can receive a confirmation and directions.

Can I pay at the class?
If you have valid payment for the full amount, yes you can. Credit card, check, or cash are accepted.

What class media and materials are provided?
We use a combination of a digital projector connected to a laptop computer and a whiteboard. Presentations are generally a mix of whiteboard writings, PowerPoint, live Internet charts, and forecasting tools. If for some reason the projector fails (which so far has not happened) we will use a backup projector or revert to a transparency overhead projector. We have a box filled with about 10 pounds of regular pencils, colored pencils, markers, and pens, so there's no requirement for you to bring your own supplies. We will be passing out handouts and exercises which are largely on oversize 11x17" paper for the full forecast experience.

What amenities will be provided?
We offer freshly brewed coffee, a refrigerator stocked with cold beverages and juice, a microwave oven, water from an Ozarka water cooler, prepackaged chips, and even (occasionally) cans of Red Bull, all free of charge. You may eat snacks or meals during the class without restriction. All classes over 4 hours will include a break long enough for everyone to eat a meal or go to Sonic (about five minutes away). We don't provide meals. You can bring a sack lunch and store small items in the refrigerator. Open WiFi is available.

Where should I stay at?
If you need lodging, the three best choices are the Best Western on Classen Blvd in Norman OK (405-701-4011), the low-budget OU Motel (405-321-4670) across the street, and the upscale Whispering Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast (405-447-0202) which is on Highway 9 and only five minutes from the Forecast School location. If you need dining options within walking distance, we instead recommend any of the hotels along I-35 in Norman.

What if I'm flying in?
The closest airport is Oklahoma City Will Rogers World Airport (OKC). Norman is about 20 to 30 minutes away and is part of the OKC metro area. You can rent a car or take an airport shuttle for about $40 each way. If you do not have any means of transportation AND you are enrolling in all classes available for that day, we will provide free transportation between any Norman hotel and the Forecast School location. This is only outside of class hours; i.e. if you wake up late or choose to go back to your hotel early, you will have to use a taxi at your own expense. There are no refunds for being unable to get to the class. As a reminder the free transportation option is only for attendees who are without any means of transportation besides taxis, and we ask that it only be used for this purpose so that we can continue to provide this service without having to charge for it.

Can I obtain certification?
Absolutely. Weather Graphics will provide technical certification if you successfully pass a difficult 20-question closed-book test after the course. These are not graded until the following week, so certifications are mailed instead of presented at class time. Technical certification is printed on heavy 30# parchment with our seal and is frameable (sample). We are extremely serious about teaching with integrity and endorsing certifications accurately, so our standards are very stringent with a typical pass rate of about 40%. Accordingly, we don't refund class fees based on test results. The tests are designed to determine not only whether you understood the material but can correctly apply what you learned. A student who fails will be sent a course completion certificate instead in lieu of a technical certificate.

What if I'm intent on covering a specific aspect of forecasting?
If there's a part of forecasting you really want to cover in depth, especially if it deals with hand analysis, notify Tim Vasquez after your registration is confirmed and we'll find a way to work this into the agenda. Normally we can only budget in about 30 minutes to an hour for hand analysis, since some students may find it too dry or tedious and we usually try to focus on diagnostic forecasting. However if you feel you need extra guidance in hand analysis, we can arrange for you to work independently of the class. Others may want to join in, too, and in some cases, maybe even the entire class will opt for this choice.

Can I buy a Weather Graphics book or software product while I'm there?
Yes, since our inventory is located on-site. You can buy any of the forecasting books or software found at the Weather Graphics site and save on shipping. The exception is RAOB and WX-SIM, which are drop-shipped from another location. We can accept cash, a check with ID, or Visa/MasterCard.

Can my son/daughter/minor or a guest attend?
Yes, we allow anyone 12 or over to attend, though it must be emphasized this is high school to college level material and younger teens may grow bored. Minors must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian, so at least two registrations will need to be purchased. Guests (such as spouses and friends) who are not interested in the course material will still need to purchase a registration to attend, otherwise they can only be on the premises at the class starting and ending times for dropoffs and pickups and may not be on the grounds without our knowledge.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?
No problem, just let us know.

What if the class ends up being canceled?
This is rare, but has happened a couple of times in the past ten years. The policy depends on the nature of the cancellation. If we foresee an problem with the class date some weeks or months out, we will check with all students individually to see whether their travel dates are flexible, and if not, we will usually proceed with the class. If a class is canceled for reasons within our control, we will provide a full refund and additional compensation either as a reasonable refund of travel costs or as Weather Graphics credit. If a class is canceled for reasons outside our control, such as law enforcement road closures, a winter storm, or a serious illness or medical emergency that affects the instructor, we will offer either a same-day or alternate-day rescheduling of the class, a raincheck, or a refund at our discretion, without obligation to remediate travel costs or incidental expenses.

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