The Audrain County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), along with the Audrain Emergency Communication, Incorporated amateur radio group will sponsor a free to the public Storm Spotters Class this Thursday evening. The class will be led by National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Kramper and will be held in the Community Room at the Audrain County Courthouse starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
“The class is a way for those interested in weather to get a better grasp on how to spot severe storms that may affect Audrain County and teaches them how to report it to the National Weather Service,” Audrain County Emergency Management Director Steve Shaw says. “We are happy to partner with Audrain Emergency Communications, Incorporated to bring this important training to Audrain County.”
The class will cover components of what makes up a thunderstorm and what makes a storm severe. It will teach attendees what to look for when storm spotting and how to go about getting the information to the National Weather Service in a timely manner. Also, hazards that Audrain County residents face with each season will be addressed.
“This is not a class to teach you how to be a storm chaser,” Shaw says. “We at EMA do not endorse, nor do we encourage private citizens to chase such danger. This class is meant to give those interested in the weather the tools necessary to be the eyes and ears on the ground for the National Weather Service in Audrain County.”
Shaw explained the National Weather Service in St. Louis is who handles weather forecasting and warning for Audrain County. He says because the radar is tilted upwards at one degree at the office in a suburb of St. Louis, meteorologists cannot see on their radar screens what is happening with a storm here in Audrain County under 6,500 feet. “That’s where spotters become invaluable to the National Weather Service,” he pointed out. “Meteorologists use their ‘ground truth’ reports to see if what they are seeing in a storm is translating to the ground. It helps them when they get these reports from spotters to verify what they are seeing on their radar screens is what is happening as well on the ground.”
Attendees do not have to sign up to be a weather spotter for the National Weather Service once they have completed the training, but are encouraged to do so to help keep residents safer in Audrain County.
“You don’t have to become an official spotter for the National Weather Service at the end of the class,” Audrain Emergency Communications, Incorporated Emergency Coordinator Jeff Carlyle says. “This class is also designed for the weather enthusiast to learn about severe weather, if that is all they want to do. But, we highly encourage those in attendance to become an official spotter so we can work to keep Audrain County residents safe.”
The class will be held in the Community Room of the Audrain County Courthouse starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening. McDonald’s, of Mexico, will provide 50 hamburgers and cheeseburgers for participants and Moser’s Foods, of Mexico, will provide water and potato chips.
“We couldn’t do this without the help of our sponsors,” Shaw added. “We’d like to thank them for recognizing the importance of such a class and being willing to jump onboard to help. It’s partners like them that help us in our jobs by providing programs like this to help residents keep themselves and others safe.”