|Severe Weather Spotters keep an eye on the sky|
|Wednesday, 20 April 2011 16:43|
When severe weather strikes, the National Weather Service forecasters have a few tools at their disposal, like Doppler Radar. Doppler radar can only detect certain aspects of a storm, such as possible rotation and estimated hail size. This is why the Weather Service uses another set of eyes, the SkyWarn Severe Weather Spotters.
Meteorologist Susan Sanders says, "Spotters can tell us whether or not the storm is starting to produce a tornado, and also what size the hail is. Even though the radar can estimate the hail within the storm, a lot of factors can affect the final size as it hits the ground. So we really depend on the spotters for a lot of the information on the storm."
Sanders says once they receive the spotter reports they forward them onto the media and emergency personnel, so the people in the direct path of the storm can take the appropriate safety precautions. To be a spotter, you must undergo a training session teaching you what to look for in a storm and how they behave. Sanders says all the spotters in their network are volunteers, belonging to fire departments, and law enforcement agencies. So the next time you hear a tornado has been spotted, you know who more than likely called it in.