The fall is often considered north Mississippi’s second tornado season as warm and cold fronts often collide head-on as the seasons shift from summer to fall.
Recognizing the difference between a simple thunderstorm and the potential for severe weather that could include tornadoes, straight-line winds and hail, can help protect your home and place of business, as well as the lives of those around you.
Do you have a severe weather plan at your home and your workplace? Can you recognize the clues that suggest large hail, flash flooding, or a tornado is possible? Do you want to become part of the severe weather warning system in your county?
As part of its area-wide weather preparedness campaign, the National Weather Service in Memphis will answer these and many other questions at the Skywarn storm spotter training program from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Oxford at the Lafayette County Fire Department Central Station at 50 CR 1032.
The program is free and open to the public.
The program, held in partnership with Lafayette County Emergency Management, will discuss thunderstorm formation, severe weather production, and features associated with severe storms.
The presentation will also review tornado formation and behavior, non-threatening clues which may be mistaken for significant features and spotter operations.
The program will discuss recommended storm reporting procedures and safety when storms threaten. The two-hour presentation will be in multimedia format, featuring numerous pictures of storms and nearly 25 minutes of storm video clips.
The network of trained storm spotters plays an important role in Lafayette County.
“We could not do our job as well as we do without storm spotters,” said Gary Woodall, warning coordination meteorologist at the Memphis NWS office. “Real-time reports from storm spotters play a huge role in our warnings. Radar and satellite are great tools, but they only tell us part of a storm’s story. The combination of spotter reports and electronic data gives us the best possible picture of the storms and what’s going on inside them.”
Lafayette County Emergency Manager Steve Quarles said storm spotters are often the NWS’s “eyes on the ground” who can relay what is going on below the line of radar.
“This can be a great benefit to the county in issuing warnings based on what is actually being seen,” Quarles said.
The Lafayette County severe weather program is one of 15 that the Memphis NWS Office will conduct from late September through early November.