Storm Spotter Training Turns Volunteers Into Essential Weather Personnel

- Storm season is right around the corner and although we could use the extra rain, it's important to know how to stay safe when a storm pops up.

That's why the Norman National Weather Service helps train storm spotters around Texoma each year.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Smith says the focus of the training sessions is safety, making sure people are safe during storms while keeping their communities safe by reporting accurate information back to the National Weather Service.

It takes a team to keep forecasts up- to- date and the public informed on weather conditions.

Even though you they may not be front and center when severe weather strikes, volunteer storm spotters are a huge part of the team

“They're our eyes and ears, the weather service and the TV stations have lots of cool technology, radars, Doppler Radar and duel pole radar but none of that can tell us for sure what's going on on the ground,” says Smith.

An important part of relaying essential information is knowing what to look for.

“People see storms on TV and they are very different in real life, they're dangerous and as we saw tragically last year in Oklahoma they can be deadly,” says Smith.

Smith says knowing what is not a tornado is an equally important part of the training and no matter how many classes you have taken in storm spotting, it's important to keep up- to- date as the information and technology used is constantly changing.

“We learn from last years events, we learn about safety and open of the important things is we learn about things that maybe look like tornadoes that aren't to avoid some false reports,” says Smith.

Reports that will be useful as storm season starts up in the spring.

If you are interested in becoming a storm spotter or just want to learn more about storm safety click here.

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