Training given at weather spotter seminar

March 2nd, 2007    Author: Michael Bradley    Filed Under: News

When the National Weather Service (NWS) puts out a requests for weather spotters, the citizens of Clermont County answer.

More than 100 people attended a weather spotter training seminar at the Grant Career Center in Bethel Feb. 27.

Sponsored by the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, the training session taught citizens about the different types of cloud formations and weather patterns that may indicate severe weather.

NWS meteorologist Julie Reed spoke about how to spot those severe weather conditions and on ways to help the NWS, located in Wilmington, to warn others about those dangerous conditions.

"The National Weather Service uses Doppler radar and satellite pictures to detect severe weather," Reed said during the 90-minute presentation. "But the most important tool for observing thunderstorms is the trained eye of the spotter."

Doppler radar can give the NWS indications of air motions inside a storm, but cannot detect wind speed and rotation at ground level.

"This is the reason that storm spotters are critical," Reed said. "Preparedness can save lives. We are here to train spotters who can perform this invaluable service for us and help us in our mission of saving lives and property. Seconds can literally save lives."

Weather spotters are the eyes and ears of the NWS, Reed said.

The observations of tornadoes, hail, wind, and cloud formations can and do provide important, life-saving information in detecting severe weather conditions.

Spotters can provide immediate information that can assist the NWS meteorologists in Wilmington in issuing their warnings, thereby giving people ample time in seeking safe shelter.

According to the NWS, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, and 900 tornadoes strike the United States each year.

Spotters have four methods of reporting severe weather conditions.

Spotters can report to HAM radio network, if electricity is compromised, report on the internet, call NWS general information, or e-mail pictures of damage or storms.

"The efforts of spotters for the NWS has been proven to increase warning time for severe weather and ultimately, save lives," Reed said.
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