St. Joseph County to use storm spotters in severe weather

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Michiana is known for severe weather. If that happens, the St. Joseph County Emergency Management office will activate its new storm spotters. They’re volunteers who give the agency information about hail, rain and storm damage.

"We have about 15 people throughout the county that are willing to keep an eye out the window,” said Rick Tripp, Deputy Director St. Joseph County Emergency Management.

Tripp says the group went through a basic storm spotter course, an online course, and training with a meteorologist.

"Once they passed the test they became the St Joe County storm spotter team,” said Tripp.

When the county needs an extra set of eyes on the skies, they activate the group by sending them text messages.

"They do not get out in the car and drive around to try and find tornadoes basically give us information on what's happening below the radar,” said Tripp.

For over a decade, the county has been fortunate. St. Joseph County hasn’t had a tornado since the one that hit Crumstown in 2001.

"This county has averaged a tornado in the county about every 7-10 years and we're on year 12 now. It's a good point in time to try to put extra measures in place to warn people if something is coming,” said Tripp.

The storm spotters send their information to Emergency Management and the information is forwarded to the National Weather Service.

The spotters will be looking for hail, rain and storm damage.

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