Mostly because I was retired and bored. I have been "Watch" weather since a kid and lived on a lake. We never liked being trapped out in a boat when the storms blew in.
I started by doing on line courses via Comet systems then local classes. I go every spring to the classes provided by our local NWS. Staying current with their training and procedures is a must.
I don't remember when to tell the truth, late 1990's. I guess. I figured as long as I was out shooting it, I might as well do some good. I took the classes at the NWS office in Sterling, VA They stopped holding classes there after 9-11 and now hold them all over the place. I don't remember how I found out about them, I think it was from the old news letters Tim Marshall send out in the early days of Storm Track.
I became one officially in March of 2017, I had always been intrigued by the power of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms since I was a preteen, but after living through the Tornado outbreak May 31,1985 in NE Ohio and western PA, I wanted to do something to save lives, besides I was inspired by the guy that stood on the roof that night in Newton Falls Ohio and saw it coming in, and warned everyone in that town with nothing but a two way radio, I thought "man that guy is a hero" and I wanted to do something big like that
I have lived in Tornado Alley all my life and enjoy watching/photographing weather.
I got into amateur radio to enhance my off road communications abilities, which turned into a hobby.
About 2 or 3 years ago I heard about the Skywarn classes through the local radio club as they were hosting one of the classes and as John said, since I was already out there I might as well report on it.
Now I take them every year as a good refresher.
I became a spotter in 2002. My office (APX) doesn't issue numbers, though.
I became a spotter due to a lifelong interest in weather, though the catalyst, was a supercell that tracked across a few counties in Northern Michigan in early July, 1999. It dropped a couple of tornadoes, one of which, nearly leveled Comins, Michigan. Amazingly, there were no injuries, let alone fatalities reported, which is truly amazing, considering, outside of Alpena and the other larger cities, there are no outdoor warning systems in this region and it was late afternoon/early evening.
Oh wow, it was back in 1984 when I got my drivers license. Back then CB radios were big around here, it was before I got my ham radio license. one of our local friends who was disabled acted as net control and called our reports into NWS via phone line.