Community Education Course to Teach Storm Spotting


lightening in sky

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton will hold a special community education course on storm spotting, conducted by a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Little Rock. The single-evening course will take place on January 7, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., at the Workforce Training Center at the UACCM campus. Upon completion of the course, attendees will receive OEM storm spotters certifications.

The class is designed to teach attendees how to be storm spotters, who are instrumental in identifying hazardous weather and communicating it to officials. Their information is then often used in official weather reports to local and county officials and to reach the population through mass media. Students in the class will be able to learn how thunderstorms form, the types of severe thunderstorms, and specific hazards during severe weather. Other important lessons include how to visually identify clouds that precede tornadoes and the means to accurately report the observations. 

Dennis Cavanaugh, a warning coordination meteorologist at the NWS, will instruct the class. He stresses the importance of storm spotters during severe weather events.

“For local NWS offices to be in the local community providing education and outreach is invaluable,” he said. “Our ability to go out and meet with and interact with the public within our area of jurisdiction is limited as we do much of our work from our North Little Rock office.”

The role of storm spotters is critical to prepare communities and keep them out of harm’s way, Cavanaugh said. He stated that the ultimate goal of the NWS is to protect life and property by bolstering community resilience. 

“We at the NWS feel like that the more education we can provide for free to the public, the better people will understand severe storms, build plans at home to mitigate the impact of severe weather, and identify multiple ways to receive warnings/hazardous weather warnings,” he said.

To register for the class, contact Denise Pote, coordinator of workforce development and community education at the UACCM Workforce Development and Community Education, at 501-977-2189 or worforce@uaccm.edu.

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