Storm spotter training set for Monday

Published 11:59 pm Saturday, March 14, 2015

Community members who attend a free class Monday night will learn how to identify signs of hazardous weather, tornado spotting, and gauging the size of hailstones.

National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Steve Wilkinson will teach the weather spotter class at 6 p.m. Monday at Goldie’s Trail Bar-B-Que, 2430 South Frontage Road.

“We encourage people to come out,” Wilkinson said. “It’s a way to serve your community.”

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Those who finish the class receive weather spotter certification.

“In each community we serve, we try to get out there and train spotters,” Wilkinson said. “They can be amateur radio operators, law enforcement or just the general public. We go through – in about an hour and a half or so – a training class to talk about what kind of storm features to look for.”

Wilkinson said the class is a way to help the National Weather Service report the most up-to-date information.

“The ultimate goal is to get things reported to us as it’s developing and to get a flow of ground troop information,” he said.

John Elfer, Warren County emergency management director, said better reports are crucial for emergency response.

“It’s all to enhance our field reports,” he said. “That’s helpful when we see something on radar and we have someone in the field who can verify it.”

Wilkinson said the previous classes held here have been successful.

“We obviously wish it was more successful, but there has certainly been times where we have spotters reporting a tornado on the ground,” he said. “But there’s been times where you don’t get any reports, and that’s why we’re trying to expand our network.”