Monday, February 26, 2001

Weather spotters sought for season




By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The National Weather Service and Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency seek people who would like to be spotters as the season for severe weather — thunderstorms and tornadoes — approaches.

        Three sessions will be offered over the next month in Glendale, Silverton and Cleves. The training is called Skywarn, and it is designed to train citizens as “spotters” of severe weather conditions.

        “It helps all of us in the business of getting warnings out to the public,” said Don Maccarone, director of Hamilton County EMA. “It helps the National Weather Service get more timely and accurate information. It confirms what they're seeing on their radar. All that leads to them being able to do a more efficient job in issuing appropriate warnings.”

        Participants will learn about how thunderstorms develop, the structure of those storms, the various kinds of thunderstorms, what to look for in cloud formations and how tornadoes develop.

        Mary Jo Parker, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS in Wilmington, said they train about 1,500 volunteers a year. The NWS in Wilmington covers a 52-county area in Northern Kentucky, southeastern Indiana and north-central Ohio.

        The spotters in Skywarn will observe the severe weather in their area and call a special toll-free number for the NWS when they notice something forming, such as a tornado.

        “We use that observed information along with radar and other information to base warning decisions on,” said Ms. Parker. “The technology is wonderful and the new radar is fantastic, but it won't detect every severe thunderstorm and every tornado. The human eye can still see things that technology can't detect.”

        The training of spotters by the NWS has been going on since the 1970s, said Ms. Parker.

        The training sessions will take place:

        • Today, 7 to 9 p.m. at Glendale Town Hall, 80 E. Sharon Road.

        • Wednesday, 7 to 9 p.m. at Deer Park/Silverton Fire Department, 7050 Blue Ash Road.

        • March 26, 7 to 9 p.m. at Miami Township Senior Center, 8 North Miami Ave., Cleves.

        To make a reservation to participate, call Hamilton County EMA at 851-7080, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

       



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