The 2013 Regional Severe Weather Seminar will be held at the Saline Center, west of Wilber. The event, in its 19th year, offers speakers and training on weather spotting, how to report and stay safe in severe weather.
Saline County emergency management coordinator B.J. Fictum says it’s been an early season of strong and varying types of storms.
Fictum says, “You look at major snows at Kansas City, Oklahoma, Texas, places that don’t get snow ended up with this year, you just watch the storm systems come over the Rockies, come out of the Deep South, Four Corners region, everything seems to be filtering this direction whether it comes from the northwest or the southwest.”
Tornadoes can hit during any month, but the traditional tornado season doesn’t begin for Nebraska until the warm weather of spring arrives. Fictum says it seems as though the threat for tornado weather is arriving earlier.
“Tornadoes are in the Deep South and they keep on creeping closer,” Fictum says. “That’s the part that worries me, how early is it going to get and how prepared are we going to be when that situation arises?”
Technology, the presence of storm chasers and the Weather Channel placing reporters in the field near storms, may be raising the awareness of severe weather.
Fictum says the featured speaker at Sunday’s event will be researcher and storm chaser Jon Davies from the Kansas City area.
“He and his wife are authors of a book, “Chasing the Twisters,” for middle-school and grade-school kids to help them learn about severe weather and severe weather safety,” Fictum says. “He’s going to give an all-encompassing program. He has a lot of good videos from his storm-chasing days.”
At Sunday’s 1 P-M free seminar, Fictum says Ken Dewey, a UNL climatologist, will give a presentation about record-breaking and extreme weather of 2013, and National Weather Service Meteorologist Cathy Zapotocny will talk about spotters making the difference.
Nebraska will have a statewide tornado drill, Wednesday, March 27th, as part of Severe Weather Awareness Week.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice