National Weather Service North Platte
Farm & Outdoor Safety Day

Several employees from the National Weather Service office in North Platte, were present on April 7th, 2010 - as part of 5 different stations on safety.  Instruction on animal safety, water safety, firearm safety, hearing safety, and weather safety were included as part of the 3rd grade student's Farm and Outdoor Safety Day event, held at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.

Four different stations were set up as part of the National Weather Service display:

1) The first station was demonstrating a weather safety kit, by Deb Blondin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist from NWS North Platte.
2) The second weather safety station explained how hail forms, updrafts in thunderstorms, how fast the fall speed of large hail is, and the dangers it poses.
3) The third section of the display, utilized a pitching machine, with softballs used to demonstate the destructiveness of softball size hail, moving at a speed of 30 mph.  The pitching machine tossed the softballs at foil covered sheets of styrofoam, aptly demonstrating to the kids in attendance that large hail causes damage.

4) Finally, Meteorologist Shawn Jacobs explained the use of radiosondes, upper air balloons and parachutes. Each kid filled out a card with their name, school and grade, and tried to predict where their balloons would end up if found.  At the end of the weather safety demonstration, each child released a small helium balloon and minature paper radiosonde, with the cards attached.  Any cards found will be returned to Cathy Weaver, of the University of Nebraska Extension Office in North Platte. 

Representatives from the National Weather Service helping with this event, were Sherri Stokey, Shawn Jacobs, Deb Blondin, John Stoppkotte, Teresa Keck and Dennis Phillips. 

Below are some images taken during Farm & Outdoor Safety Day, just click to enlarge them.

Deb Blondin explains weather safety kit to kids
(Weather safety kit)
Deb Blondin, at "Hail" pitching machine demonstration
(Hail demonstration)
(Please mouse over images for fuller descriptions)
Shawn Jacobs, explaining upper air analysis
(Upper air explanation)
Sabrina, from McDaid Elementary School fills out card
(Filling out return cards)

Balloon Release!
(At end of weather safety demonstation, kids release balloons and mini-radiosondes!)

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