The annual regional Severe Weather Seminar is planned for this weekend at the Saline Center west of Wilber along Nebraska Highway 15.
Saline County emergency management coordinator B.J. Fictum says experts from the Iowa Storm Chasing Network will be among the featured highlights this year.
“The Iowa Storm Chase Team that took all of the outstanding pictures of the Pilger twin tornadoes that you saw on CNN and the Weather Channel is coming down,” Fictum says, “and they’re bringing Team Dorothy, which is their version of the TIV or Tornado Intercept Vehicle, the big thing that looks like a tank.”
“Dorothy” began as a 2013 Ford E-350 van and was heavily modified with three-quarter-inch polycarbonate windows and double-walled 14 and 6-gauge steel. The four-person vehicle allows chasers to get an up close view of tornadoes.
The team’s Ben McMillan will give an insider’s perspective to covering the Pilger tornadoes last June, as well as tracking the EF-5 twister that hit Parkersburg, Iowa, in 2008, and the devastating twisters in Oklahoma.
Fictum says the 12:30 PM seminar on Saturday includes storm spotting information to provide continuing education for spotters. The regional seminar held at the Saline Center typically draws 200 to 300 people of all ages.
“The more people we can educate, the more people we can give the information to, the better off everybody is going to be and that’s preparedness,” he says.
Saturday’s seminar will be kicked off by the presentation of awards in the Saline County portion of the Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest, with more than 170 posters on display that were drawn by Saline County 4th graders. There will be several displays inside and outside the Saline Center, door prizes and a lunch. The event is free.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice