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Live safer! Attend weather spotter training

March 5, 2014
Gilbert Sebenste

Gilbert Sebenste

As the severe weather season approaches, NIU Weather and the NIU American Meteorological Society are offering the opportunity to become a trained weather spotter.

The weather spotters training will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in the Cole Hall Auditorium. This event is free, open to the public and does not require pre-registration to attend.

Participants will learn more about storms and storm structure as well as how to identify severe weather threats, thanks to National Weather Service forecaster Matt Friedlein, who will lead the training.

The National Weather Service uses reports from airports that are recorded hourly and radar reports provided every 5 to 10 minutes. Because the radar cannot detect everything, however, there is a vital need for trained weather spotters.

While the satellite and radar reports provide some very important information, these reports cannot detect hail. The reports cannot see funnel clouds or tornadoes and will miss high wind events that occur between reports.

Photo of a tornado“We need spotters to let the National Weather Service know what’s happening at ground level,” said Gilbert Sebenste, NIU’s staff meteorologist. “By becoming a trained weather spotter, you can serve your community and your area by helping to reduce injuries, lives lost and property damage lose due to severe storms.”

Upon completion of the training, trained spotters will receive a private phone number to call which goes directly to the warning meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Reports placed by trained spotters are taken much more seriously.

For more information about the weather spotter training, email Sebenste at [email protected].