Flagler County, FL - Flagler County and the NWS could use a few good eyes and ears. The county and the National Weather Service holding a Storm Spotter class this week.
The Skywarn Storm Spotter class will be hosted by Flagler County Emergency Services and the National Weather Service, and will be taught by a meteorologist with the NWS. The class will cover everything from cloud formations to thunderstorm development to visual predictions. It will be at 6 PM on Thursday, April 21, at the Emergency Operations Center behind the Government Services Building at 1769 E. Moody Blvd., Bunnell.
People who participate in the class will be eligible to become volunteer storm spotters who assist Emergency Services and the NWS by reporting potentially dangerous weather events.
"This is a really important class because trained storm spotters serve as the local eyes of the National Weather Service," said Bob Pickering, Flagler County Emergency Management Technician. "The National Weather Service has one of the best radar systems in the world. However, the radar still can't see absolutely everything that's going on." That's where volunteer storm spotters come in.
Spotters are able to see things which might not necessarily show up on the NWS radar, and can often identify the signs of a dangerous storm as it's developing. "We've had instances in the past where spotters actually saw funnel clouds that developed into tornadoes that the National Weather Service didn't have an indicator of," said Pickering. "Because of the spotters, tornado warnings were able to be issued prior to the storm striking."
Pickering wants to make sure people know that this class will not train people to be, nor does it encourage people to be storm chasers. Rather, it teaches people how to recognize dangerous weather conditions and equips them to notify the NWS when they see something noteworthy in their day-to-day life.
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