Residents train to spot severe weather - WNEM TV 5

Residents train to spot severe weather

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MIDLAND COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Recent weather might make it tough to believe we'll finally see spring.  But as the warmer weather approaches, so does the threat of severe weather.

"I am the family worrier, I am the one who warns everybody if the weather is bad, and make sure everybody is alert," said Mary Ledbetter, a Midland resident.
 
Ledbetter remembers the tornado that ripped through Beecher, in Genesee County, last May and the flood waters that spread out across Mid-Michigan last spring. Weather events that are close to home.
 
"I'd like to be able to spot the storms that are coming in, and know what the cloud formations mean," said Ledbetter.
 
On Thursday night, she listened as the National Weather Service put on Sky Warn training. Nearly 30 people learned how to spot bad weather, like tornadoes, and how to report it to the NWS so warnings can be issued.
 
"Spotters are very important because they're our ground truth data, they're the people who are at the site seeing what we're actually forecasting," said Debra Elliott, the NWS Observation Program Leader.
 
In Midland County, there is a group of about 50 active weather spotters.  John Wolters, the Midland County Amateur Radio Emergency Coordinator, has been doing this for years and said it's an important job.  A job that can save lives.
           
"The more people that can look to the skies and report to the National Weather Service the better off we are, because we can see something here, the people in Bay City and Saginaw get a better warning," said Wolters.
 
"That definitely helps saving of lives, these guys are definitely important to us," said Elliott.​
For more information on becoming a spotter, visit the National Weather Service website by CLICKING HERE.

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