Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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April 13, 2007

National Weather Service Offers Free Training for Severe Weather Spotters April 18 in Fulton

The season for spring storms is fast approaching and the National Weather Service will train severe weather spotters at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 in the lower level of the Oswego County Building, Route 481 North across from Mimi's Restaurant in Fulton. The Oswego County Emergency Communicators/RACES invites all who are interested in severe weather to attend this training session.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Judy Levan and Senior Forecaster Robert Hamilton from the National Weather Service Office at Buffalo will present the “Skywarn” training program. Skywarn is a nationwide program of spotters that report severe weather to the National Weather Service.

“Severe weather touches everyone at some time or another, and the better prepared that the community can be, the better the chances of reducing personal loss,” said John Darling, radio officer for the Oswego County Emergency Communicators. “Amateur radio operators support this program using their radio capability to maintain contact with the weather service during severe weather events.”

Non-ham Skywarn trained spotters give their reports directly to the NWS or through a local amateur radio operator who relays the information to the NWS. Training is open to the public, and public safety organizations are encouraged to attend. There is no charge for the training.

Darling said that anyone can become a Skywarn spotter for the National Weather Service. “All you have to do is attend one of the spotter training sessions.”

The training includes a brief overview of the National Weather Service, the equipment used, and basic severe weather meteorology, including how thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes form. Training lasts about two hours. Participants are instructed on what types of severe weather the National Weather Service is interested in, and are given an 800 telephone number to make reports directly to the NWS forecasters.

“The Skywarn program trains individuals to be storm spotters so that they can provide severe weather information for use during decision-making processes at the weather service center,” said Darling. “Current day radars and automated weather reporting instrumentation can give its data to the forecaster, but it can not tell what is actually happening at the ground level. The spotter gathers the prevailing factors of the severe weather and reports them to the Weather Service for comparison with the other data that they are accumulating.”

Fire and police agencies can also provide pertinent information as they go about their work. Municipalities and emergency centers rely on these reports in their quest to protect the public from undue hardships. Early warnings make it possible to issue instructions and information that will help keep the area at low risk.

Oswego County is one of only 1,038 sites in 47 states and one of 10 counties in New York that has been designated a StormReady community by the National Weather Service.

More information about the National Weather Service is available from their Web site at www.erh.noaa.gov/er/buf. Information about the upcoming training is available by contacting Oswego County Skywarn Coordinator Brien Mathews, Amateur call KA2AON, through the Emergency Management Office in Fulton, phone 591-9150.

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