Saturday, March 16, 2013
PENDLETON — Online registration is now open for free weather spotter training.
The two-hour courses will be held April 8 in Walla Walla and Dayton. Sponsored by the National Weather Service, the training allows volunteers to provide up-to-date information on storms to meteorologists.
For people who cannot attend the April 8 sessions, a live online training session will be held April 29 at 7 p.m.
The training sessions will teach participants how to observe and report cloud formations, wind gusts, hail size, rainfall and other data to spot potentially severe storms.
Spotters use a special toll free number, amateur radio frequency or the Internet to report to forecasters at the weather service office in Pendleton. Meteorologists can then use the data as they issue severe weather warnings or updates to residents in Walla Walla and Columbia counties.
Even with technology such as Doppler weather radar, trained volunteers are vital when it comes to providing “good ground truth information” to forecasters, said Dennis Hull, NWS warning coordination meteorologist.