Tornado season

Texas County Emergency Management will host the annual National Weather Service Storm Spotter training at 6 this evening at the Texas County Justice Center’s multi-purpose room.

This spring, the National Weather Service is looking to recruit trained severe weather spotters.

“Weather spotters play a vital role in the safety of a community.” County Emergency Management Director Robert Ellsworth said. “For example, Doppler radar from the National Weather Service tells us what’s happening in the sky and what might be happening on the ground. A trained spotter can tell us exactly what’s happening on the ground by measuring the hail size, rainfall, and whether or not a tornado is actually doing damage on the ground.”

Every spring the National Weather Service holds a series of weather spotter training sessions. In two hours you can be a trained weather spotter. The class is free.

“We can never have enough storm spotters across the area,” Ellsworth said. “Some folks are on vacation, others may not be around their homes when severe weather strikes, so we’re always looking for new storm spotters.”

Many of these spotters are amateur radio operators who volunteer their time and equipment to assist the NWS in meeting our mission of protecting life and property.

The focus this year will remain safety in light of fire fighter Tyler Casey’s death while spotting the Mother’s Day 2008 tornado. A second emphasis will be accuracy and effective communications.

Accurate reports have always been a challenge given our hilly, tree lined terrain. “It’s a different situation every time. No one storm acts like the last one,” he says.

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