2008-05-07 / Local News

Get trained to spot storms

Training will be held locally
By Jenna Buehler Comet writer-intern

Carroll County witnessed several natural disasters this year. When alerted to potential dangers, it was imperative locals take the necessary safety precautions. Today there are a number of opportunities for residents, young and old, to become involved in identifying, reporting and warning residents of potential danger.

Two National Weather Service (NWS) "Storm Spotters" training sessions will be held May 14 at Delphi Community High School (DCHS) from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The training is open to the public and allows participants to become certified "Storm Spotters," according to NWS meteorologist Dave Tucek.

"In the two-hour presentation, we discuss cloud structures, radar imagery, storm safety, how to remain safe and communicate your information to weather services," Tucek explained. "After the training, participants may choose to go online and obtain official certification- with the idea that when storms are taking place in Carroll County, their reports will help us in the watch and warning process."

According to Tucek, citizens who are certified "Storm Spotters," may transmit their weather reports to electronic media and have the local report broadcast via television and radio.

"Local reports increase the likelihood that people are going to receive the warning and take the necessary safety precautions in a timely manner," added Tucek.

DCHS law enforcement instructor Chico Hatke initially arranged the training session for his criminal justice and law enforcement students.

"If severe weather moves into the area, law enforcement officers need to know when to get out, if they aren't aware of what is about to take place and if they aren't safe, they can't be of service to other citizens in danger," Hatke said. "Law enforcement needs to make sure they're available to assist people in need and help pick up the pieces afterward."

Carroll County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave McDowell and Hatke arranged to invite the public to attend the training.

"This is a good way for the National Weather Service to increase the amount of information they gather without increasing their staff and expanding their budget," McDowell said. "More importantly, this is a way to get an earlier warning out there- out to the community, and get people out of the flood zones before it happens."

He also explained other volunteer weather opportunities available to community members.

McDowell said rainfall observers of all ages in Indiana can participate in The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network (CoCoRaHS), a joint collaboration between NWS offices of Indiana and the Indiana State Climate Office at Purdue.

"The purpose is to provide the NWS with extremely accurate information from people actually in the storm zones," he said. "The difference between CoCoRaHS and certified 'Storm Spotters,' is that CoCoRaHS gather information when storm events are taking place, and Storm Spotters are spotting it before it gets there."

"The first word of our recent flood was said to have been posted by a young girl in Buffalo," McDowell concluded. "A little girl with a measuring gage in her back yard posted online that 'this appears to be a flood of Biblical proportions'- and it was our 40-year flood."

The public is encouraged to attend the Storm Spotters training, along with law enforcement officers, school administration, and Hatke's students. If interest exceeds room capacity, training may be scheduled for a later date. For more information, or to participate in the training session, contact McDowell at (765) 564-0028. For more information about CoCoRaHS, visit www.cocorahs.org.

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