Storm Spotting Class Certifies Local Residents

"We are always striving to walk away from a major weather event with zero fatalities," remarked Richard Okulski, a Warning Coordinator with the National Weather Service.

Therefore, more than 85 people gathered in Jonesboro Saturday morning to participate in the SKYWARN storm spotting class.

"We have great technology; radar and satellite," said Okulski.  "However, we need those 3-thousand eyes and ears to tell us what's going on in the Mid-South."

Saturday's class focused on teaching people how to spot severe weather and what steps to take when reporting it.

"We've had 11% of the fatalities due to tornadoes in the United States," said Okulski.  "So this has been a very active area over the last decade, and getting that information out and people acting on it is crucial."

On the outside it was raining and thundering, but on the inside, those taking the SKYWARN class said it was all about protecting themselves and their communities.

"Constant education keeps you up to date," said Tony Bittle, who was taking the class as a refresher.  "With the technology upgraded every year, it's a good thing to continue your education."

For some in attendance, it wasn't a continuation, but their first time to look at what is considered a severe weather event.

"We learned a lot about the Beaufort scale and the terms used in storm tracking," said Donnie Cox.

At the end of the day, not only did participants learn a lot, but they walked away as certified SKYWARN Storm Spotters.  This, adding them to a list of those who can help during mother nature's time of fury.

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