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

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February 28, 2011

National Weather Service to Train Weather Watchers March 16

FULTON - The Buffalo office of the National Weather Service will conduct a SKYWARN spotter training seminar in the lower level of the Oswego County Branch Office Building, 200 N. Second St., Fulton (across from Mimi's Restaurant on Route 481), on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m.

This training session is sponsored by the Oswego County Emergency Communicators/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (OCEC/RACES) and the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, and will last about two hours. There is no cost for the training.

"SKYWARN is a national effort to save lives during severe weather emergencies with an expanding network of trained volunteer weather spotters," said Patricia Egan, director of the Emergency Management Office. "SKYWARN spotters support their local community and government by providing reports of severe weather directly to the National Weather Service in Buffalo through amateur radio or by phone using the NWS spotter hotline. The services performed by SKYWARN spotters have saved many lives across the U.S."

The National Weather Service has a number of devices for detecting severe thunderstorms. Included in these are Doppler radar, satellite, and lightning detection networks.

"However, the most important tool for observing thunderstorms is the trained eye of the storm spotter," Egan said. "By providing observations, SKYWARN spotters assist National Weather Service staff in their warning decisions and enable the National Weather Service to fulfill its mission of protecting life and property. Storm spotters are, and always will be, an indispensable part of the severe local storm warning program."

The March 16 training session will provide a brief overview of the National Weather Service organization and its responsibilities, severe weather safety, and basic severe weather meteorology including how thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes form.

Anyone can become a severe weather spotter for the National Weather Service. SKYWARN training is free and open to the public.

Members of OCEC/RACES are amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide emergency communications through the Oswego County Emergency Management Office and participate in the SKYWARN program of the NWS, headed by Oswego County SKYWARN Coordinator Judy LaMay, KC2SUM.

OCEC/RACES is very active in collecting data and forwarding it to Buffalo during severe weather occurrences through its amateur radio links. This data is also provided to the Emergency Management Office to provide a current understanding of the situation around the area. Skywarned-trained spotters who are not amateur radio operators can give their reports directly to the NWS or through a local amateur radio operator who will pass the report to the NWS.

Further information is available by calling the National Weather Service at (716) 565-0204 ext. 223 or Oswego County Emergency Management Office at (315) 591-9150.

More information about SKYWARN is available on the NWS Buffalo website. Information about OCEC/RACES is available at www.oswegoraces.org.

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