WCSO Emergency Services Conducts Skywarn Spotter Training Programs
WCSO Emergency Services conducts Skywarn Spotter training programs throughout the community at the beginning of every severe weather season. The National Weather Service Forecast Office in White Lake assigns an experienced meteorologist to conduct the training, which is free of charge and open to anyone at least 18 years of age. The course is about two hours long, and Skywarn Spotter identification codes are issued to all who complete the training.
This year Skywarn programs were held on March 13 at the Ypsilanti Township Civic Center and on April 6 at Pioneer High School… where 295 volunteers were trained on severe weather recognition, reporting and protection procedures. Washtenaw County now has a total of 597 trained Spotters when combined with our Spotters that were trained in 2012.
These volunteers are a critical component of our coordinated detection and warning system! During the EF3 tornado in Dexter last March, volunteer spotters were the first to report a rotating wall cloud (precursor to a tornado), funnel cloud, and the tornado touchdown northeast of the village. This allowed enough time for the Emergency Operations Center to disseminate a message to all public safety agencies and local media outlets (broadcasting to the general public) that a tornado was actually on the ground and that they should take immediate action… well before the tornado entered Dexter Village.
Skywarn Spotter programs will be held next year in Chelsea and Saline. For information about severe weather preparedness, please see the WCSO Emergency Services web page.