Storm spotters save lives. It’s as simple as that. While meteorologist monitor radar and the National Weather Service (NWS) issues warnings during severe weather, spotters watching the skies send in their reports to notify meteorologists of what’s really happening. Spotter reports trigger severe weather warnings sent to smartphones via apps like Storm Shield and local TV news. These extra moments' notice to take cover can save your life or the life of a loved one.
What’s a storm spotter?
Anyone can be a storm spotter. If you can look to the sky and use a phone, you’re qualified. It’s just a matter of going to one of the free classes offered by the NWS. These classes are a crash course in weather catering to the weather illiterate and the biggest weather geeks. Take an evening to complete one of these quick two-hour classes and you’re a certified storm spotter ready to save lives.
How would I be saving lives?
When the NWS issues severe weather warnings, the Storm Shield Weather Radio App immediately alerts you on your smartphone no matter where you are. If warnings are issued sooner, everyone has more time to take cover from the storm. As the meteorologist for Storm Shield, I am trained to read radar, to see the shape of the storm, its movement, and whether or not it has rotation. Meteorologists can deduce a lot from this information, but we can’t see what’s actually happening at the surface. Reports from storm spotters let us know what it looks like on the ground, which can help meteorologists at the NWS issue warnings earlier.
Tornadoes, wind, & hail, oh my!
Lightning, tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail, and flash floods cause billions in damage, thousands of injuries, and hundreds of fatalities every year (NOAA). It may not feel like it, but Spring is just around the corner and so are these types of severe weather. The overall weather pattern begins to change during the months of March, April, and May. The bitter cold air of Winter, along with the jet stream, begins to retreat to the north as warm, moist air from the south begins to travel northward. Occasionally, these air masses collide, and violent storms form. The National Weather Service is already gearing up by offering classes across the United States. Contact your local NWS office to find a storm spotter class near you, and in the coming months, you may be able to help Storm Shield and the National Weather Service save lives.
Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on twitter, @StormShieldApp and Facebook. Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are.