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Published April 16, 2012, 06:22 PM

Spotting program helps identify severe weather

Hawley, MN (WDAY TV) - Severe weather; we have all seen it, and most of us have been affected by it in one way or another. There is a way for you to help your community stay safe and alerted when weather strikes.

Severe weather; we have all seen it, and most of us have been affected by it in one way or another. There is a way for you to help your community stay safe and alerted when weather strikes.

The Skywarn Spotter program has been around since the mid 90's, and since then volunteers have been a critical part in helping the National Weather Service put out accurate and timely warnings.

Bryan Green – Emergency Management Director: “Whenever we have a cited tornado within Clay County it has to be verified, and besides a first responder, or law enforcements or anyone who verifies them, a spotter is also qualified to verify that.”

Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Green works closely with the National Weather Service to keep this program running. He holds classes that potential spotters have to take to become certified.

Volunteers are taught the basics of thunderstorm development, storm structure, what constitutes severe weather, and how to report the information. Green says this program is specifically designed to save lives and property.

Bryan Green: “The national weather service can see what is happening on the weather radar, but they don't have anyone out there so it is just another set of eyes and ears to know where the storm is going to go and what the storm is doing at this time.”

It takes only one class to become certified, and once you are it's recommended you attend classes each year because weather patterns are constantly changing.

There are 2 classes held in each county every year. If you would like to become a spotter there is a class tonight from 6 to 9 at the Hawley Fire Department.

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