Do You Want To Learn About Severe Weather?

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Well another longgggg stretch of rather unexciting weather is about to move into the region, because aside from some daily temperature forecast challenges and cloud challenges (i.e. the clouds today and how they’ll impact the forecasted highs) not a lot is going to be happening around these parts as a dry flow sets up, with no significant storms showing up for awhile.

There continue to be solid signs of at least a brief, somewhat glancing shot, of some arctic air moving in next Monday that lasts for a couple of days before sliding away from us. This may turn into our coldest airmass of the season but shouldn’t last for more than a couple of days before the flow flattens and things moderate nicely. At least that’s the way it looks now.  For the NE part of the country, this one looks like a cold, nasty airmass that will hang around for awhile.

So with that said, and nothing to really sink my teeth into to blog about today, I thought it would be a good time to bring up a service that the NWS provides to the region each year and it’s FREE!

Each mid-late winter, the NWS in Pleasant Hill and Topeka go to various counties and conduct severe weather training/spotting classes. These are entry level type classes for those who have a passion for weather and want to learn more about recognizing severe weather set-ups and spotting, whether it’s from your own back yard or helping with the SKYWARN program for your community. A cross of people go, from kids who are interested in weather, to regular folks who have always wanted to learn more, to law enforcement personal to community officials who want a primer in what to look for. Not only do you learn what makes severe weather, but you also, almost as importantly learn what’s NOT severe weather. You’ll learn how my colleagues go about their jobs and some of the challenges they face during some very stressful times.

In the end, what you will learn is just how important YOU are to the process of warning various communities in a timely and accurate way. Even though I’ve done this for dozens of years, I usually go once every year or two just to brush up on things. There are slides and videos to help you through the process and to make it a bit more exciting to learn about.

In the past the NWS has gone through every county, sometimes twice per season teaching each counties citizens about severe weather. These days because of various cutbacks in staffing that is more challenging to do, but they still hit most counties and should you’re county NOT be on the list, odds are the county next to you is and you just might have to make a short, but worthwhile drive to hit one of the seminars.

For the countries in the Pleasant Hill area of responsibility, which includes most of you reading the blog in W MO and E KS go to this link for more information about the individual dates set up already. For those on the KS side, closer to the Topeka area, including Lawrence county the list hasn’t been released yet that I can see from their homepage.

Now let’s say that the introductory lesson whets your appetite and you want to learn more and take the next level class. There is a resource for that as well that I do try to attend every year and that would be the Douglas County Severe Weather Program held once each year in the Lawrence area. This program is a bit more in-depth and has various speakers from across the country teaching severe weather recognition. It’s a great learning experience and you’ll hang out with various media, NWS personal, and researchers. It’s not overly technical and it’s geared to those wanting to take the next step. You’ll get some great resource information as well. This class is scheduled for March 9th and is a day long class. The NWS introductory classes run about 2 hours or so. If you want to learn more about taking to understanding of severe weather to the next level go to this link and you can sign up. there is a minimal charge for this class in March.

So that’s about it. Of course we encourage our school kids to come out to School Day At the K, which is our community program that we’ve done at FOX 4 for almost 15 years I think. That information is here and we’d love to see you this year. Schools from around the region come out for a fun day of learning and watching your KC Royals play a little baseball. We’ve been pretty lucky with the weather and this year we’ll be testing that luck a bit since the program is scheduled for 5/2. Mike is starting preparations now for the show and we’re looking forward to it.

Have a great day

Joe

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