The National Weather Service will hold a free class in Oakhurst for those with an interest in weather and would be interested in contributing to weather watches and warnings for Eastern Madera County.
“Anyone with a general interest in the weather around you or how thunderstorms develop, our Skywarn program was designed for you,” said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jerald Meadows, of the San Joaquin Valley/Hanford Weather Forecast Office. “Skywarn spotter reports act as our eyes and ears in the field. Spotter reports help our meteorologists issue timely, accurate, and detailed warnings by confirming hazardous weather detected by NWS radar. Spotters also provide critical verification information that helps improve future warning services. Spotters serve their local communities by acting as a vital source of information when dangerous storms approach. Without spotters, NWS would be less able to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property.”
Meadows explained that anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication can join the Skywarn program. Volunteers include amateur radio operators, law enforcement and fire personnel, emergency medical services workers, dispatchers, postal workers, public utility workers, city or county workers, farmers, and other concerned private citizens.
Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are encouraged to become a spotter. s
Because of the complexity of severe thunderstorms and the potential dangers involved, spotting is recommended for adults, 18 years or older. High school and middle school students are welcome to attend the class with a parent or other adult.
A Skywarn Weather Spotter Class will be held in Oakhurst at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27, at the Yosemite Gateway Realtor Association’s office, 40298 Junction Drive, just west of the Sears store.
US most severe weather-prone country in the world
Each year, people in the United States cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,200 tornadoes, and two landfalling hurricanes. 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 (NWS) program developed in the 1960s that consists of trained weather spotters who provide reports of severe and hazardous weather to help meteorologists make life-saving warning decisions.
Spotters are concerned citizens, amateur radio operators, truck drivers, mariners, airplane pilots, emergency management personnel, and public safety officials who volunteer their time and energy to report on hazardous weather impacting their community.
Although, NWS has access to data from Doppler radar, satellite, and surface weather stations, technology cannot detect every instance of hazardous weather. Spotters help fill in the gaps by reporting hail, wind damage, flooding, heavy snow, tornadoes and waterspouts. Radar is an excellent tool, but it is just that: one tool among many that NWS uses.
Details: www.skywarn.org - Jerald Meadows, (559) 584-0583, ext. 223.
National Weather Service