It's time to begin preparing for the 2014 severe weather season. Here in the Tri-State area, atmospheric parameters start to become favorable for severe storms by early April. Around that time of year, higher sun angles and longer days begin to warm the lower atmosphere helping to generate atmospheric instability. This, combined with wind shear, helps to create a favorable environment for severe storms capable of producing large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. The severe weather season in eastern Colorado, northwest Kansas and southwest Nebraska usually winds down by early October.
All NWS offices rely on severe weather reports from storm spotters ... volunteers who make a commitment to observe and relay reports of large hail, damaging wind and tornadoes. Information from spotters is immediately passed along to broadcast media who then inform the public. Reports are also used to enhance the wording in warnings and often help the warning forecaster decide whether or not to issue, continue or cancel a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning.
We might be a little complacent after somewhat slower severe weather seasons in 2012 and 2013. Tornado and Flash Flood reports were down considerably the past two years compared to normal, although the number of wind and hail events was about on par.
To help prepare for the upcoming season, the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Goodland, KS is offering storm spotter classes in all 19 counties in the Tri-State area. The first class in 2014 will be held Monday, March 3rd in Leoti, Kansas. Classes will continue just about every weekday evening during March and will conclude March 28th in Colby, Kansas.
These interesting and informative classes are open to the public and are offered free of charge. If you would like to assist your local community by becoming a volunteer storm spotter, or if you simply want to learn more about severe weather on the High Plains, consider attending one of our classes. Becoming a storm spotter is not mandatory if you attend a class. Many folks simply want to learn more about weather on the High Plains. All classes are held in the evening at 6:30 pm local time and will last approximately 2 1/4 hours. Topics will include severe weather climatology, storm structure and evolution, important cloud types, weather safety and how to report severe weather events. Updates on Wireless Emergency Alerts and Impact-Based Warnings will be provided, including a change in the convective outlooks issued by the Storm Prediction Center.
The National Weather Service and county emergency managers have set the following spotter class dates and locations. Check out the list below to find a date and location near you. Call 785-899-7119 with any questions about spotter classes, content or locations.
|March, 2014 - Upcoming|
|6:30pm CDT||Bowen Scout House - 1041 Sheridan St|
|6:30pm CDT||Prairie Land Electric Coop Downstairs - 1101 W Hwy 36|
|12||St Francis, KS
|6:30pm CDT||High School Cafeteria - 100 S College|
(Red Willow County)
|6:30pm CDT||Senior Center - 1400 W 5th Street|
|14||Sharon Springs, KS
|6:30pm MDT||CAB - Fairgrounds south of town|
|6:30pm MDT||4H Building - Fairgrounds North Edge of Town|
|6:30pm MDT||Ambulance Building - 302 E 2nd St|
|6:30pm CDT||Gateway Building - 1 Morgan Drive|
|6:30pm CDT||Courthouse Downstairs - 710 W 2nd|
|6:30pm CDT||Prairie Developmental Center - 208 S 4th|
|6:30pm CDT||EMS Building 333 Main St|
|6:30pm MDT||Dundy County EMS Building - 1305 A Street|
|27||Cheyenne Wells, CO
|6:30pm MDT||Fire House Hwy 385 and S 1st Street|
|6:30pm CDT||Community Building Downstairs - 285 E 5th|
|March, 2014 - Completed|
|6:30pm CST||Firehouse S 4th St, 2 blocks north of Hwy 96|
|04||Hill City, KS
|6:30pm CST||Frontier Stage - 321 E Main St|
|6:30pm MST||NW Tech Murray Center - 1315 Eustis Ave|
|6:30pm CST||4-H Building - 757 W 3rd St|
(Kit Carson County)
|6:30pm MST||Stratton Community Center - 918 Colorado Ave|