TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Warnings issued for severe weather events can help the public take action and possibly save lives but many of these warnings wouldn't happen without eyewitness reports from trained storm spotters.
Many are aware of what a Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Tornado Warning means. The National Weather Service issues these warnings during weather emergencies but sometimes they need help from the public.
One thing we are dependent upon with the public is our spotter network. Severe weather spotters are very important to the National Weather Service to give us an idea of the ground truth information of what is happening on the surface" NWS Meteorologist Jason Puma says.
Storm spotters are trained members of the public that report weather information from area communities to the NWS so severe weather warnings can be more accurate.
"Our radar actually shoots radar beams into the clouds so we know what's going on in the clouds but we really don't know what's going on so that's where our spotters come into play," Puma says.
Trained storm spotters can make a difference in how warnings are issued. If a storm looks tornadic on the radar a storm spotter in the area can confirm if they see a tornado or not so the public can know for sure if a tornado is heading their way.
"Taking a spotter course learning what to look for and how to report to the National Weather Service to help us get good warnings out that are effective and accurate," Puma says.
If you want to become a storm spotter and learn to report weather information in a safe way Vigo County will have a training session April 1st at Berean Baptist Church in Terre Haute.