‘Skywarn’ trains storm spotters, open to public
The National Weather Service (NWS) will host free storm spotter training in Sardis open to the public Thursday, March 23 at the Panola County Emergency Operations Center, 100 MSg William J. Ferrell Drive, Sardis (behind Performance Marine), from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Panola County Emergency Operations Director Daniel Cole, whose agency is partnering with NWS for the event, said Skywarn is expressly for first responders, the volunteer firefighters, law enforcement officers and others who routinely go out at night when a threatening weather system approaches, and literally watch through the lightning-strobe-lit skies for approaching funnel clouds. It seems like they get called out more with each passing year.
“Real-time reports from storm spotters play a huge role in our warnings, as we saw with the December 2015 tornadoes,” said Gary Woodall, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Memphis NWS Office. “Radar is a great tool, but it only tells us part of a storm’s story. The combination of spotter reports and radar data gives us the best possible picture of the storms and what’s going on inside them”.
But anyone interested in weather and storms is welcome — that’s about 99 percent of us. We’re all fascinated.
“Even if you don’t become an active storm spotter, you will learn about how storms work and the visual clues to look for when storms are in your area,” Woodall said. “We will discuss severe weather safety tips. This will better prepare yourself and your family for the threats that storms pose.”
The two-hour presentation will be in multimedia format, featuring numerous pictures of storms and nearly 25 minutes of storm video clips.
For more information on severe weather and the National Weather Service, visit the Memphis Forecast Office’s website at http://www.weather.gov/Memphis, the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NWSMemphis, and its Twitter feed at @NWSMemphis.