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Monday, April 15, 2024

Storm Spotters needed in Marion County

The National Weather Service will host a free SKYWARN Storm Spotter class later this month to teach Marion County residents how to spot early warning signs of extreme weather.

The free training class will be held on Wednesday, February 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center, which is located at 698 NW 30th Avenue in Ocala.

The National Weather Service SKYWARN class on January 5, 2022 included a total of 40 Marion County residents
Marion County residents attending a SKYWARN class in Ocala on January 5, 2022. (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

In an average year, the United States experiences over 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, and more than 1,000 tornadoes. During most years, lightning and severe weather also cause billions of dollars worth of damages to property and crops, according to the National Weather Service.

SKYWARN is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters throughout the country who provide accurate and timely reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers, and other concerned private citizens.

The upcoming training class will provide participants with essential information for all types of weather hazards, including thunderstorms and tornadoes. During the two-hour session, participants will learn:

  • The basics of thunderstorm development.
  • The fundamentals of storm structure.
  • How to identify potential severe weather features.
  • How to report information, along with what information to report.
  • Basic severe weather safety.

For more information, or to register, visit the National Weather Service – SKYWARN Storm Spotter Class webpage.