AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Severe weather season is here, and Wednesday night, weather watchers had the chance to learn about being a weather spotter.
The Cleveland office of the National Weather Service hosted a session at Austintown Fitch High School. The program began at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
About 150 people attended the presentation to learn about being a weather spotter. The basics of thunderstorm development were taught, along with how to identify weather features such as a funnel cloud and how to report it.
“This is not storm chasing in any way. The National Weather Service does not advocate storm chasing. This is storm spotting, so you can conduct this from your car, your office or home. It is what you are seeing where you are right now,” said Dennis O’Hara.
Volunteer weather spotters relay information back to meteorologists in Cleveland online or by phone. The Mahoning County database includes some 300 people who are part of a nationwide network of weather spotters.
And organizers say, they are always looking for people to get involved.
“The more the better, and that’s why they put on these training sessions in every county in the springtime like this, to get as many eyes and ears out there on the ground, providing them with as much information as they can get timely warning out to the general public,” said Dean DeMain, a Mahoning County Skywarn coordinator.
The Pittsburgh office also held a training Wednesday night at the Mercer County Public Safety Office.
If you couldn’t make it to the training sessions, you can still help WKBN report severe weather. Download the free WKBN Storm Team 27 app and use the Report It tab to send pictures and videos during severe weather.
Be sure to make sure you are in a safe spot before doing so.