National Weather Service meteorologists from Morristown, Tn. will present SKYWARN, a free “Severe Weather Spotter” course, at Erlanger Health System Baroness Hospital Probasco Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 3 beginning at 6 p.m.
"The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NWS, established SKYWARN with partner organizations. SKYWARN is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the NWS.
"Although SKYWARN spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms and provide verification to the NWS of what is actually taking place at the ground level. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States," officials said.
Sponsored by the Chattanooga Amateur Radio Club, the SKYWARN program is free and open to the public. NWS meteorologists will teach attendees the basics of thunderstorm development and the fundamentals of storm structure, train spotters on how to identify potential severe weather features and provide information on what information to report and how to report it.
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such as a HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.
"Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, and has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods," officials said.
Pre-registration is not required for the course. Walk-ins are welcome.