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Storm spotter training planned in Menlo

MENLO – The Adair and Guthrie County Emergency Management Agency will be hosting a storm spotter training session 7 p.m. March 20 in the community building next to city hall in Menlo. This training session is open to the all county responders and the public. The training session is free.

The session normally lasts two hours and will acquaint you with basic information on the formation of severe weather storms and how they function; what to report, as well as how and where you should communicate the information. After training, you may register as a severe storm spotter on the National Weather Service website or at spotter training sessions. This would enable meteorologists to call you to get real-time information and to confirm severe weather activity indicated by Doppler radar images in your vicinity.

“One person could make the difference in the potential injuries or deaths from a severe storm or tornado,” Robert Kempf, emergency management coordinator, said. “By being aware of the possibility of severe weather or tornados in your area, you can react to rapidly changing weather conditions and improve you, your family and your community’s safety in such an event. As a trained spotter serving your area and providing the National Weather Service with severe storm reports, meteorologists can correlate your real-time information of storm activity with the data they are receiving by radar.”

Why does National Weather Service need severe weather reports from trained weather spotters? The Doppler radar cannot detect what is really happening at ground level, especially the greater the distance the weather event is from the radar site. The radar is designed to look into the heart of storm clouds and their surroundings to detect wind currents and other storm structure clues that suggest a storm is or will become severe. With accurate ground truth reports, along with radar images and other meteorological data available to weather service personnel, the decision can be made whether to issue a storm warning to the public.

With timely reports of severe storm activity volunteered by citizens and data from improved technology at the National Weather Service offices, the numbers of injuries and deaths in Iowa from severe weather can be minimized.

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