By ALEXANDER WILLIS
With Williamson County being issued a tornado warning Wednesday, and thunderstorms pummeling cities all over Middle Tennessee this weekend and beyond, knowing how to spot when a storm is rolling in is vital. Through the National Weather Service’s volunteer program SKYWARN, Spring Hill residents can attend a free storm spotter class this Tuesday at the Workforce Development Center.
Established in the 1970s, SKYWARN is a volunteer program that has more than 350,000 trained severe weather spotters across the country, who beyond holding educational classes for the public, “help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service,” as written by the National Weather Service.
Through the class, attendees will learn the basics of thunderstorm development, the fundamentals of storm structures, means to identify potential severe weather features, how to best report information, and basics on severe weather safety.
Every year, the United States experiences roughly 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, and over 1,000 tornados. While tornado frequency is decreasing in some states such as Texas and Oklahoma, Tennessee has seen some of the highest increases in tornado frequency in the country, particularly in Middle Tennessee, which saw 17 of the state’s total 23 tornados in 2018.
SKYWARN is also always accepting new volunteers to become official SKYWARN spotters. To become a spotter with SKYWARN, those interested must be at least 14 years-old, and complete a spotter basics class either in person and one of hundreds of offices across the country, or online.
The spotter class will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Workforce Development Center, located at 5000 Northfield Lane in Spring Hill. Admission to the class is free.
Those interested in becoming an official SKYWARN spotter may learn more information by clicking here.