Spotters Critical to National Weather Service, During Severe Storms

BEATRICE –  Spotters save lives.   That was the message to about 80 persons who attended a weather spotter training session last night, hosted by Gage, Jefferson and Saline Emergency Management, and the National Weather Service.

:16                  “reports out there”

The hour-and-a-half session at the Homestead National Monument of America Education Center focused on severe weather parameters of hail, wind, tornadoes and flooding, along with how to report severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Brian Smith with the Valley National Weather Service Office says radar can detect a lot of things, but weather spotter reports are critical, especially the farther the storm is from a radar site.

:18                  “our peak months”

Tornadoes have occurred in Nebraska in every month of the year, and Smith says most happen between the hours of two p.m. to 8 p.m., during the most significant warming period of the day.  Warm air rises and collides with colder air aloft, sometimes creating supercell thunderstorms that spawn tornadoes.

:14                  “in December”

Smith says weather experts use the acronym, ACES, to push citizen and weather spotter safety.  It stands for awareness, communication, escape route and safe zone.

:11                  “is moving”

Smith says the public sometimes confuses tornadoes with high storm winds that occur as downbursts or bow echo storms.   Such storms can produce wind speeds in the range of 85 to 135 miles-per-hour and do a lot of damage.

Smith told those attending the weather training session that the National Weather Service needs spotters to identify themselves when making a report, and then tell the what, where and when, of severe weather.

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