Spotter training classes for severe weather are underway now and will run for the next several weeks in communities across Nebraska.
Brian Smith, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley, says several severe storms raked the northeast part of the state last summer, causing widespread damage and injuries. Smith says it’s simply how the weather patterns emerged.
“It was just conducive for where the storms developed and since October of 2013 when Wayne got hit, northeast Nebraska has gotten its share of severe weather,” Smith says, “especially in June of last year.”
Spotters prove to be extremely valuable assets to the weather service when severe storms break out. Smith says while there were several strong storm outbreaks during 2014, overall, it was a pretty quiet year, aside from those few exceptions.
“Mother’s Day was a big event in mainly central and eastern Nebraska,” Smith says, “and then there was June 3rd, a big hail storm and wind event, one that occured in Norfolk and went southeast, and nailed Blair, and then there was June 16th and 17th.”
Those are the days when severe storms spun off several tornadoes in the region. On the 16th, a twister demolished much of the town of Pilger (PILL-gur) and on the 17th, another tornado touched down in Cedar County.
Severe Weather Awareness Week starts on March 23rd. Spotter training courses are underway now through late April. A course was held yesterday in Seward, one is scheduled tonight in Weeping Water, with more courses this week in Schuyler, Beatrice and Columbus.
Learn more at www.weather.gov.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton