Each year, the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) hosts a National Weather Service (NWS) spotter class to provide training for school and first response agencies on what signs to look for to know when severe weather is moving through. Officials and the public can help be the eyes of the NWS in looking for key patterns when weather is about to turn threatening.
The class is open to fire, EMS, law enforcement, school leadership and citizens who want to know more about what a forecaster is looking at when a thunder shower intensifies and threatens lives and property. The class is also good for anyone who is fascinated by weather and wants to know more about the various types of severe weather that is possible in southern Ohio.
Radar images can only capture a finite amount of information about a weather system as it approaches, but when forecasters have eyes on the weather as it’s happening in real time, it can be the difference in what type of weather warning needs to be issued to help protect the public. Using social media, spotters can reach out to the weather service as a citizen and provide real-time data of what is happening in their backyard. Oftentimes forecasters rely on contact with the first responder dispatch center to find out what their road response units are seeing, and may reach out to by phone.
Any help a trained spotter can provide through whatever means can often make a difference in forecasters issuing a life-saving warning to alert people of impending danger.
The Scioto County NWS spotter class will be held at 6 p.m. March 20 at the new Valley Township Fire Department, located on Robert Lucas Road in Lucasville. To register, call the Scioto EMA office at 740-355-8300. If after hours, leave a voice message with your name and number for all who will be attending. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your information.