Weather service to hold storm spotting class in Grand Forks
Mar 02, 2013 (Grand Forks Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
During severe weather, every second counts when it comes to making preparations. To help give communities in the Red River Valley more warning of approaching severe weather, the National Weather Service is hosting a storm spotting class at 7 p.m. Sunday in the UND Memorial Union Lecture Bowl.
The class is free and open to the public, and is hosted by the American Meteorological Society of UND. According to Justin Weber, president of the society, the class is expected to run about two hours long, and will discuss the basics of storm development and storm spotting.
"All you really need is an interest in weather, and in severe weather," Weber said. "We thought it would be a good idea to organize this class to help inform students, administrators and private citizens in the Red River Valley."
Meteorologist Greg Gust from the National Weather Service will teach the class as part of the Skywarn program. According to its website, Skywarn was established in the 1970s and provides safety and informational training to citizen storm spotters. Skywarn spotters learn how to identify potential severe weather features and how to report potential severe weather.
Weber, who has already gone through the class, said the technology forecasters have available sometimes isn't enough.
"The biggest benefit of having a spotter is they provide a ground report to the National Weather Service," he said. "Radar can't see very close to the ground, so a set of eyes can be very useful for decision makers. Spotters help verify the information the radars give them."
Storm spotting and storm chasing are not the same thing, according to the website. Storm chasers are people that may travel hundreds of miles each day to seek out severe weather, while a spotter stays close to home, and typically has ties to a local organization, such as a police department or university.
The website warns that both storm spotting and storm chasing are dangerous and should not be done without proper training.
"It's better to be safe and informed," Weber said.
On the web: www.skywarn.org
Call Jeffries at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1105; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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