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Weather spotter training set here

— Volunteers are being sought to participate in the latest weather spotter training April 10 in The Dalles.

Registration is required for the training and at least 10 people must register or the training will be canceled. Registration is on the Internet at weather.gov/Pendleton. You may either follow the clickable link at the top of the internet page, or email dennis.hull@noaa.gov, or call Dennis Hull at 541-969-7136.

Weather spotters trained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) are key volunteers who assist the meteorologists by providing up-to-date information about storm activity.

The Skywarn Weather Spotter training is free and will be at Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, 1400 W. Eighth, The Dalles. The training will begin at 1:30 p.m. and is co-sponsored by Wasco County Emergency Management. If you cannot attend April 10, live on-line training will be April 29 at 7 p.m.

Even though the Doppler weather radar is scanning the skies and the NOAA Weather Radio is broadcasting forecasts, watches, and warnings, forecasters depend upon getting good ground truth information from trained Skywarn weather spotters.

Skywarn spotters attend a two-hour training session where they learn how to observe cloud formations and other weather in this area. The Weather Service teaches how to determine which storms are potentially severe. Spotters use a special toll free number, amateur radio frequency, or the Internet address to let the forecasters at the National Weather Service office in Pendleton know what is happening in their area. Meteorologists use this data as they issue severe weather warnings or updates to the residents of Wasco County.

Skywarn was developed in the early 1970s to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and communities. The emphasis of the effort is often focused on the storm spotter, an individual who takes a position near their community and reports wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado.

In the winter, spotters report heavy snow, icing, high winds, and blizzards. Skywarn also works to ensure National Weather Service forecasts, watches, and warnings are broadcast and received in a timely manner.

The lead role in Skywarn may lie with the National Weather Service or with an emergency management agency within the community. This agency could be a police or fire department, or often is an emergency management/service group. This varies across the country however, with local national weather service offices taking the lead in some locations, while emergency management takes the lead in other areas.

Interested residents who would like to learn more about the local weather or those who may have an interest helping your neighbors obtain good weather warnings, are invited to attend the SkyWarn Weather Spotter training. Volunteers are asked to bring information about their latitude, longitude, and elevation, so their locations can be easily mapped.

More information about the training is available by contacting the National Weather Service at 541-969-7136. You can also email Hull at dennis.hull@noaa.gov. Additional information is also available at the National Weather Service website at http://www.weather.gov/pendleton.

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts to Wasco County from a transmitter near The Dalles on frequency 162.400 MHz.

Additional information about Skywarn can be found at http://www.skywarn.org.

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