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Ref: National Weather Service partners with local Texas community

Palestine Herald Press

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NWS, local emergency group hosting weather program




Staff Reports
The Palestine Herald
PALESTINE— The 2007 storm season in north Texas was one for the history books. Widespread devastating flooding, large destructive windstorms, tornadoes, and hail all made appearances in our area. The toll on life and property was significant, with dozens of casualties and damage in the tens of millions of dollars.
The 2008 severe weather season is just around the corner. Are you ready for whatever this year has in store? Do you have a severe weather plan at your home and your workplace? Can you recognize the clues that suggest large hail, flash flooding, or a tornado is possible? Do you want to become part of the severe weather warning system in your county?
As part of its area-wide weather preparedness campaign, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth will answer these and many other questions in a severe storm spotter training program from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Anderson County Courthouse Annex Meeting Room. The program will be co-sponsored by the Anderson County Emergency Management team.
The 2008 program will emphasize three fundamental concepts for severe weather events: observing, reporting, and safety. The program will discuss thunderstorm formation, severe weather production, and features associated with severe storms.
The presentation will also review tornado formation and behavior, and safety when thunderstorms threaten. The program will discuss spotter operations and recommended procedures when spotting. In addition to the “baseline” spotter training, this year’s program will feature a special bonus session covering some advanced storm topics.
The program will be in multimedia format, featuring numerous pictures of storms and nearly 25 minutes of storm video clips.
“We have some new material in the 2008 spotter training program,” said Gary Woodall, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Fort Worth NWS Office. “Nearly all of the photos and video clips are different this year.
“We’ll have many more identification cases, and we’ll discuss the operational aspects of storm spotters in more detail.”
Despite the revisions to the program, the fundamental purpose of the spotter training — and of the storm spotter network as a whole — remains unchanged.
“We could not do our job as well as we do without storm spotters,” Woodall said. “Radar is a great tool, but it only tells us part of a storm’s story.
“Spotter observations complement the electronic data we use to analyze storms,” he explained. “The combination of spotter reports and radar data gives us the best possible picture of the storms and what’s going on inside them.”
The program is free and open to the public.
“By coming to this program, you will learn a lot about thunderstorms,” Woodall said. “Even if you don’t become an active storm spotter, you will learn about how storms work and the visual clues you can identify when storms are in your area.
“We will discuss severe weather safety tips. This will better prepare yourself and your family for the threats that storms pose.”
The Anderson County severe weather program is one of over 40 that the Fort Worth NWS Office will conduct between January and early April 2008.
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth provides forecasts, warnings, and weather services for 46 counties in north and north-central Texas. For more information on severe weather and the National Weather Service, visit the Fort Worth Forecast Office’s website at www.weather.gov/fortworth.

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