It's time to begin preparing for the 2013 severe weather season. The first severe thunderstorms typically rumble across the Tri-State area in late March or early April, about the same time as the last blizzard of the winter season! On March 28, 2007, a record-setting 16 tornadoes occurred in the 19-county warning area served by the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Goodland. 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 the lack of severe weather in 2012. The big weather story last year was heat and drought, with 2012 being fairly quiet in terms of severe weather. Only five weak tornadoes were reported by storm spotters and law enforcement personnel last year compared to 23 tornadoes in 2011 and 33 in 2010.
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 2013 will be held Monday, March 4th in Leoti, Kansas. Classes will continue just about every weekday evening during March, and will conclude March 28th in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado.
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. An update on Wireless Emergency Alerts will be discussed, as well as "Impact-Based Warnings" which is a change in the content of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings for 2013.
The National Weather Service and county emergency managers have completed the storm spotter class schedule for this year. Check out the list below for the location of a spotter talk near you! Call 785-899-7119 with any questions about spotter classes, content and locations.
|March, 2013 - Completed|
|6:30pm CST||Firehouse - 4th Street (Hwy 25) 2 blocks north of Hwy 96|
|6:30pm MST||4H Building - Fairgrounds North Edge of Town * Note location change *|
|6:30pm CST||Community Building Downstairs - 285 E 5th|
|6:30pm CST||Courthouse Downstairs - 710 W 2nd|
|6:30pm CST||Prairie Developmental Center - 208 S 4th|
|6:30pm CDT||Prairie Land Electric Coop Downstairs - 1101 W Hwy 36|
|6:30pm CDT||Bowen Scout House - 1041 Sheridan St|
(Red Willow County)
|6:30pm CDT||Senior Center - 1400 W 5th St|
|6:30pm CDT||4-H Building - 757 W 3rd St|
|15||St Francis, KS
|6:30pm CDT||High School Cafeteria - 100 S College|
|18||Hill City, KS
|6:30pm CDT||Frontier Stage - 321 E Main St|
|6:30pm MDT||Ambulance Building - Corner Blake St and Hwy 34|
|6:30pm CDT||Gateway Building - 1 Morgan Drive|
|6:30pm MDT||Dundy County EMS Building - 1305 A Street (New location for 2013)|
|22||Sharon Springs, KS
|6:30pm MDT||CAB - Fairgrounds south of town|
|6:30pm CDT||EMS Building - 333 Main St|
(Kit Carson County)
|6:30pm MDT||Morgan Community College - 340 S 14th Street|
|6:30pm MDT||Murray Center, Northwest Tech College - 1315 Eustis|
|28||Cheyenne Wells, CO
|6:30pm MDT||Fire House - Hwy 385 and S 1st St.|
|There are currently no outreach events scheduled.|