Flagler County, FL – Weather buffs are invited to an upcoming Skywarn Storm Spotter class, hosted by Flagler County Emergency Services and the National Weather Service (NWS), to receive training to be able to assist officials in reporting severe weather.
On May 9, those interested in becoming a volunteer storm spotters are encouraged to attend the free class taking place at 6 PM at the Flagler County Emergency Operations Center (1769 E. Moody Blvd., Building 3, Bunnell). Cindy Elsenheimer, meteorologist and NWS senior forecaster, is set to teach the class. Everything from cloud formations to thunderstorm development to visual predictions will be covered during the class.
“More than 2,000 residents have received this training in the past 23 years,” said Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency Management Technician. “Storm spotter reports from Flagler County to the National Weather Service have included: waterspouts, hail, wall clouds, flooding, and even developing tornadoes before they could be detected by weather radar.”
Skywarn Storm Spotter classes in Flagler County have been taking place since 1995. According to Flagler County, Pickering has organized all 51 classes.
Storm spotters are an important part of how Emergency Management and the NWS report on severe weather. According to the NWS, thunderstorm warnings are only issued for issued for a storm with hail and high winds, however, lightning (which occurs in all storms) is more deadly than tornadoes and hurricanes in the U.S. Storm spotters are also important because Flagler County is situated between a gap in the closest Doppler radar towers.
“It is so important for us to have well-trained volunteers because Flagler County is located within the gap of the nearest Doppler radar towers,” said Jonathan Lord, Flagler County Emergency Management Chief. “These storm spotters serve as the local eyes of the National Weather Service.”
In 2017, storm spotters made 181 reports of severe-level weather to the NWS. Storm spotters also reported weather in real-time during Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017.
“Storm spotter classes are scheduled based on the limited availability of meteorologists with the National Weather Service to come teach the class,” said Pickering.
Prospective attendees must register for the class by calling Pickering at 386-313-4250 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Skywarn Storm Spotters Program can be found here under the “Webcams and Weather” tab.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.