NEW PORT RICHEY – As the start of hurricane season looms, the importance of having trained eyes on the skies increases.
That is one of the reasons the National Weather Service created Skywarn, a volunteer service that provides training to citizens on how to spot and report severe weather.
The program has nearly 300,000 weather spotters who have been certified with NWS after taking the required course.
Daniel Noah, warning and coordination meteorologist at the Tampa Bay Area National Weather Service office in Ruskin, drew a full house of potential Skywarn spotters at the Pasco County Emergency Operations Center April 24 as he conducted one of those classes.
“Did you know this area has the most storm days per year than any other place in the nation?” Noah asked.
The number is actually 100 storm days per year, according to Noah, who filled the 90-minutes with facts, figures and websites concerning the art of storm watching.
Students were given a concentrated meteorology course which included how severe storms form and the warning signs for which to be on the watch.
Noah also presented information on the different types of ways by which the information can be released to the public quickly should a severe weather event arise.
In order to receive a certification, the attendance of one class every three years is required.
Classes are offered yearly in person at various sites and are also available online.