Feb 20, 2018

Panhandle State Communications

Storm Spotter Training Set For Tonight!

Goodwell, Okla. — If you are interested in becoming a storm spotter the Amarillo National Weather Service Skywarn Spotters training will be held at Oklahoma Panhandle State University on Tuesday, February 20 in the Science and Agriculture Building room 101. This year’s session will begin at 7 p.m. and last about two hours. The class is open to anyone who is interested in knowing more about severe weather as well as those interested in Skywarn spotter training. Personnel from the Amarillo National Weather Service will be here to teach the training session. For details please contact Dr. Beverly Meyer at Panhandle State; 580-349-1524 or bmeyer@opsu.edu.

The primary mission of the National Weather Service (NWS) is to protect property and save lives by issuing timely statements, watches and warnings. The National Weather Service Office in Amarillo has forecast and warning responsibility for the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, which is known as their “County Warning Area”.

Severe thunderstorms result in millions of dollars in damage each year across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. Injuries and fatalities may also occur, primarily during the severe weather season, which typically runs from April through June in this area. The National Weather Service depends heavily on information received from trained storm spotters, during episodes of severe weather. These Skywarn Spotters serve as the “eyes and ears” of the NWS, providing real-time, ground-truth reports as to what is “going on” in severe storms. This is vital to forecasters at the NWS, who use this information, along with doppler radar, satellite and other data, to provide the best severe weather warning service to the public.

Each year, from mid-February through April, the NWS in Amarillo conducts numerous severe weather Storm Spotter Training courses all across the Amarillo County Warning Area. Each county or community has a group of volunteers who serve as NWS Skywarn Spotters. These volunteers are usually composed of individuals involved with local government, such as Emergency Managers, law enforcement, and fire departments. In some communities, members of the general public also serve as Skywarn Spotters. All NWS spotters must have attended a Spotter Training course, from a NWS representative, at least once within the last two years.

The NWS in Amarillo appreciates all of the volunteers across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles who serve as Severe Storm Spotters. Despite improved radar, satellite, and other technological advances, there will always be a need for spotters out in the field, to relay timely, critical information in order to improve the severe storm warning process. Join us on February 20 to complete the training or just to be educated in what to watch for, when to take shelter, and how to be safe during severe storms.

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