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NWS: Interest in storm spotter classes grows

by Diana Zoga

KMOV.com

Posted on March 28, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 28 at 10:21 PM

(KMOV) -- In Maryland Heights, the National Weather Services' Warning Coordination Meteorologist will hold the final storm spotter training class Thursday evening. 

It is the last scheduled class of a season that has seen more participants, learning how to spot severe weather.

"This season, in some places, we've doubled and tripled the attendance in some of the classes," said Jim Kramper, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Kramper attributes the growing interest in classes to the popularity of storm chasing shows and fresh memories of tornadoes that hit the St. Louis area on Good Friday in 2012 and a few months earlier on December 31, 2011.

Not everyone who gets the training goes on to become an active storm spotter for the National Weather Service, but Kramper says he's ok with that as long as the lessons learned in class help someone stay safe.

The National Weather Services uses storm spotters to confirm what satellite and radar images are telling meteorologists. 

"I can suspect hail is falling.  I don't know for sure until someone tells me," said Kramper.

Meteorologists with the NWS call it "ground truth information".

Thursday's class on March 29th will be held at the Maryland Heights Community Center at 2344 McKelvey Road at 6:30 p.m.

The class is free and registration is not required.

Learn more about the class here: www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/

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