Storm spotter class set for tonight

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2010

VIDALIA — While it’s not quite storm chasing, Concordia Parish residents interested in becoming storm spotters for the National Weather Service will have an opportunity to do just that tonight.

The NWS, along with Concordia Parish Homeland Security, will host a storm spotting class at the Concordia Parish Training Center, which is located on Louisiana 15 directly behind the Concordia Parish Community Center.

“It is going to be strictly weather and weather spotting,” Concordia Parish Homeland Security Director Morris White said. “(Weather is a long subject, and (the class) is updated with the weather changes and with nature changing as it is now.”

The class will begin at 6:30 p.m.

“Storm spotters are kind of the eyes on the ground,” NWS Meteorologist Dan Byrd said. “If they see severe weather, they will alert either emergency management, who will call us, or sometimes they will call us directly.”

Becoming a storm spotter is fairly easy. Just attend one of the training sessions and the NWS representative will take down your information, Byrd said.

“Occasionally we may call you if there is a severe storm moving through where you are, and we might ask you if you see any hail or trees down,” he said.

The training focuses on identifying weather patterns, including tornadoes.

“We might teach them how to differentiate between wall clouds and low clouds,” Byrd said. “The difference is that wall clouds have rotation in them.”

Much of the training is video-based.

“Just seeing the difference (in weather) is the easiest way to do it,” Byrd said.