WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) – Tornado season is just around the corner and the National Weather Service is gearing up.
They’re holding a storm watcher training class in Jacksboro Thursday night.
We don’t have to remind ourselves that we live in Tornado Alley. Maybe you don’t know, the National Weather Service offers a course for weather enthusiasts. It’s designed to help them recruit volunteers to help spot storms as they move through Texoma.
The National Weather Service wants volunteers to help them help people prepare for bad weather.
“The Sky Warning Storm Spotter program is a volunteer program where we go out and provide free weather lessons primarily focused on severe weather threats to concerned residents, public safety officials, anyone who really has an interest in the weather and learn more about severe weather” . Jennifer Dunn, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said.
The course will last two hours and will train participants on what severe storms look like using pictures and video. They will also train in storm safety and how storm watchers can submit reports to the NWS
Being a storm watcher is dangerous, especially at night when you can’t see the storms.
“With their safety in mind, and that’s something we talk about a lot, so there are some challenges like trying to spot or see storm features at night and we certainly want people to make sure they’re safe first. , and taking shelter precautions and those safety preparedness actions, and then they can report to us after the fact as well,” Dunn said.
Our lead meteorologist on First Alert 6, Ken Johnson, says storm watchers are important.
“On the radar I can look and say a storm is producing heavy rain, I can look at the radar and say it is probably producing hail, I can look at winds which are producing damaging winds and it might rotate a bit, but if you have an observer on field, it can tell you what’s happening from a bird’s eye view with the storm,” Johnson said.
The Storm Spotters course is free, no registration is required and open to the public. Thursday’s class in Jacksboro will be held at the Fire Department at 6:00pm
For people in Wichita Falls, there’s another class this Saturday at 9:00 from Midwestern State University in Akin Auditorium.
There are also opportunities to do online training.