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Storm Spotting

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Spotters learned how to recognize certain thunderstorm features and structures that make tornado formation more likely.

Spotters learn how to recognize certain thunderstorm features and structures that make tornado formation more likely.

It’s time yet again for another podcast of That Weather Show… brought to you by the NOAA Weather Partners from Norman, Oklahoma. I’m Gary Skaggs.

When severe weather makes an unwelcome visit in our area, we turn to those who keep an eye on the skies above for information and advice. NOAA National Weather Service meteorologists use NEXRAD Radar as their primary tool for monitoring and forecasting the weather. However, other sources provide critical information that help improve the accuracy of local forecasts and warnings. Rick Smith, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Oklahoma, explains.

Rick Smith: The Weather Service uses lots of technology to help us detect storms and issue warnings for storms but radar can’t see everything so we need people – we need trained spotters on the ground to identify dangerous cloud features, to identify dangerous weather and report that back to their community and to the Weather Service to help us warn people about the storms.

A storm spotter would likely report his observation of this distinctive wall cloud, which marks an area of strong updraft in a storm.

A storm spotter would likely report his observation of this distinctive wall cloud, which marks an area of strong updraft in a storm.

Each year, local National Weather Service Forecast Offices offer free Storm Spotter Training sessions. Attendance is in the hundreds and the excitement level is high as people learn to safely identify storms.

Rick Smith: Storm Spotters come from a variety of walks of life. Many of them are law enforcement or volunteer firemen, amateur radio operators. Or just citizens interested in weather and interested in helping their community be ready when storms threaten.

So the next time you feel thankful for that severe weather information that kept you and your family forewarned, you might need to thank your neighbor as well.

Thanks for listening to another podcast of That Weather Show – brought to you by the NOAA Weather Partners. I’m Gary Skaggs.