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Skywarn program looking for volunteers to help report severe weather

By Melissa Gaona, mgaona@wdbj7.com
Published On: Mar 11 2014 06:35:23 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 11 2014 09:01:25 AM EDT

Volunteers are needed for the Skyward volunteer program.

BLACKSBURG, Va -

The Skywarn is a volunteer program with thousands of trained severe weather spotters.

The main responsibility of a Skywarn volunteer is to identify and and describe several local storms.

The next class available is happening in Montogomery County in Blacksburg on March 19th at the Inn at Virginia Tech, 901 Prices Fork Road from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

There is also one happening in Roanoke on March 27th at the American Red Cross, 352 Church Avenue from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Classes are also scheduled in Rockingham, Reidsville, Rustburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Daleville, Pulaski, Bedford, Pearisburg, Rocky Mount and Floyd.

Classes wrap up for the year on May 13, 2014.

Who is Eligible?
NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.

How Can I Get Involved?
NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local area. Training is conducted at these local offices and covers:

Basics of thunderstorm development
Fundamentals of storm structure
Identifying potential severe weather features
Information to report
How to report information
Basic severe weather safety

Classes are free and typically are about two hours long.

To find a Skywarn class in your hometown, click here.

For more information on Skywarn Program, click here.