National Weather Service gets Texomans prepared for severe weather

GRAHAM, TX (KAUZ) - Spring is here and that means so is severe weather season.

Many are ready, thanks to the National Weather Service's Skywarn Spotter Training that was held at the North Central Texas College Monday night in Graham.

The goal is to teach people how to spot the dangers of severe weather so everyone can stay safe.

Steve Fano, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Fort Worth/Dallas, said the more people who are trained, the faster and more accurate they can send out alerts.

"The trained eyes in the sky really fill in the gaps where technology isn't quite there yet, and so that helps us with timely warning decisions," said Fano.

Fano said the Skywarn Storm Spotter training is a basic class that teaches people how to identify severe thunderstorms, what to report and how to stay safe.

He said with Texoma being a very active area and a part of tornado alley, the best thing people can do is to have a preparedness plan at home.

"Even if you're not a storm spotter, know where you're going to go if severe weather threatens, and also pay attention to the forecast," said Fano. "That is a very important thing to do, and then when storms do come in, you need to follow your action plan," said Fano.

The National Weather Service holds these classes in every county in North Texas from January to March to get ready for spring.

Fano said training everyday people is important for them.

"The most valuable piece of the puzzle is a trained eye reporting what they see, so that helps us get out the warning out quickly," said Fano.

Sandra Edwards with the Graham Emergency Management said this training makes officials like herself feel more comfortable about the safety of their residents.

"I think more people ought to have things like this and go to things like this so they can be knowledgeable," said Edwards.

Those who came out to the class said they are looking for just that.

"I want to help to keep my family and my property safe," said Vickie Keller. "It really interested my husband and myself to learn more about how to look at the clouds and maybe predict a little bit more."

Brian Christenson, who calls himself a weather fanatic, said he attends every year.

"The weather in North Texas is so diverse and changes almost on a daily basis," said Christenson. "I just like to be able to read the weather myself."

Meteorologists Steve Fano said storm spotters should report what is happening, the time, and exact location.

Also, report conditions like strong winds, cloud formation, and other severe weather like hail and flooding.

There are multiple ways you can report this information:

Amateur radio: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/?n=repeat

Phone: 1-800-792-2257

Social Media: Facebook & Twitter @NWSFortWorth #fwdspotter

The National Weather Service does not advocate storm chasing or putting people in the path of severe weather.

Storm spotters should stay in their vehicles and keep them running, stay on paved roads, and always have access to shelter.

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