Ever wonder, when the news reports on snow depths around the area, where their info comes from?
- Do they send reporters driving all over the state with yardsticks to take measurements in the various city hall parking lots?
- Do they fly over the state and measure various depths with Sonar?
- Do they find out by listening to the other news stations?
They rely on SKYWARN®, NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) volunteer army of TRAINED SPOTTERs.
According to SKYWARN®,
SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation's first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time--seconds and minutes that can help save lives.
Not to mention, those precious seconds and minutes required to stampede to the supermarket and stock up on bread, toilet paper, and DVD rentals.
For example, this info from the National Weather Service website, under the UPDATED SNOW AND WIND REPORTS link, shows the extent they rely on TRAINED SPOTTERs in NJ.
******STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL*********
LOCATION / TOTAL INCHES SNOWFALL / TIME/DATE / COMMENTS
GARFIELD 9.8 800 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
MAHWAH 4.6 600 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
BELLEVILLE 10.5 730 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
WEST ORANGE 7.0 700 PM 12/26 PUBLIC
NEWARK AIRPORT 7.0 700 PM 12/26 FAA CONTRACT OBSERVER
CEDAR GROVE 2.5 420 PM 12/26 PUBLIC
BLOOMFIELD 2.0 400 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
JERSEY CITY 7.6 700 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
HASKELL 9.0 807 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
WAYNE 2.5 500 PM 12/26 PUBLIC
ELIZABETH 11.7 625 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
UNION 11.3 645 PM 12/26 TRAINED SPOTTER
After finding out about this program, I decided that When I grow up I want to be a trained spotter.
With a little more research (yup, more googling) I found out how to go about this.
According to SKYWARN®, I need to contact my local Warning Coordination Meteorologist, and receive training that covers:
- Basics of thunderstorm development
- Fundamentals of storm structure
- Identifying potential severe weather features
- Information to report
- How to report information
- Basic severe weather safety
Also, I am guessing, how to use a yardstick.
So I have applied, and am waiting to hear back.
I will blog any further developments.