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SKYWARN® Storm Spotter Training in Michiana

Tornado in Kokomo, Indiana.
Have you ever wondered more about thunderstorms, tornadoes or floods? Have you ever wanted to provide severe weather reports to the National Weather Service? That's where the SKYWARN®  Storm Spotter Training courses come into play. They are held during February, March and early April each year across the country to provide those interested with a chance to learn about severe weather, how to report it accurately and how that information is used by the National Weather Service. The information you provide to the NWS is used to help better forecast severe weather of all types, which can help save life and property during extreme events. 

NOAA created SKYWARN® in the 1970s in order to have a program to help obtain critical weather information. It is completely voluntary, and there are nearly 290,000 certified SKYWARN® Storm Spotters nationwide. There are 330 active spotters registered across Berrien County alone. And, although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to safely identify and describe severe local storms. The information you provide through SKYWARN®, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled the NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods. This includes the historic floods that ravaged parts of Michiana in February of 2018.

There are a few opportunities over the next few weeks to become SKYWARN® storm spotter certified. Here are three nearby courses being held:

1. March 15th: Pulaski County - 1131 N U.S. 35, Winamac, IN 46996 @ 7 PM

2. March 20th: Branch County - 65 Grahl Drive Coldwater, MI 49036 @ 7 PM

3. April 12th: Porter County - Valparaiso University, 1700 Chapel Dr, Valparaiso, IN 46383 @ 7 PM

While there are only a few more chances to attend a storm spotter class, the National Weather Service is still looking for volunteers for the CoCoRaHS program. This is a volunteer program that allows any person to report rain, snow, sleet, and hail amounts to the NWS to better their forecasts and warning issuing abilities. A link that story can be found here.

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