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Weather Spotters Wanted
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As a weather spotter, you’ll be able to report vital information about snowfall and rainfall in the Wood River Valley.
   
Friday, April 26, 2024
 

PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Do you have an interest in weather and helping your community?

The National Weather Service is recruiting more weather spotters across Southeast Idaho, and will be holding two online training classes this spring. The free classes will be taught by Meteorologist Kevin Smith and are open to anyone.

The United States is the most severe weather-prone country in the world, coping with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,200 tornadoes, and two land-falling hurricanes each year. Approximately 90% of all presidentially-declared disasters are weather-related, causing around 500 deaths each year and nearly $14 billion in damage.

SKYWARN is a National Weather Service program developed in the 1960s that consists of trained spotters who provide timely and accurate reports of tornadoes, funnel clouds, hail, wind damage, flooding and snowfall to help meteorologists make life-saving warning decisions.

While the National Weather Service has access to increasingly accurate and high-resolution data from radar, satellite, and weather stations, technology still cannot detect every instance of hazardous weather. Spotters help fill in the gaps by reporting exactly what is happening at the ground.

There are currently 350,000 to 400,000 spotters nationwide, with more than 1,000 of those spotters located in southeast Idaho.

“Real-time, ground-truth reports are CRITICAL to our forecast and warning operations as we work to fulfill our mission to protect life and property,” says Tim Axford, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Pocatello National Weather Service office. “We've frequently made warning decisions based on valuable reports received from our volunteer spotters. They are our eyes and ears in the field.”

Each training class will last two hours. Participants will learn:

• What is the National Weather Service and its mission?

• Why are spotters needed?

• What do watches, warnings, and advisories mean?

• Basics of thunderstorm development and fundamentals of storm structure.

• Flooding and winter weather basics, hazards, and safety.

• Information on what to report and how to report it.

Two virtual/online class options are available. Pre-registration is NOT required.

WEEKEND MORNING OPTION--Saturday, May 4th, 10 a.m.-noon. Join at Class Time: meet.goto.com/skywarn

WEEKDAY EVENING OPTION--Tuesday, June 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join at Class Time: meet.goto.com/skywarn

For more information, contact the National Weather Service Pocatello at 208-233-0834 or pocatello.weather@noaa.gov.

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