More than 100 people received training to help the National Weather Service (NWS) spot storms during a special training program on Sept. 5 in the Wright State University Nutter Center’s Berry Room.
Every year, Wright State hosts the Skywarn storm spotter training program as part of the university’s commitment as a National Weather Service “StormReady University,” said Kimberly Nagel, the emergency management administrator at Wright State.
One of the criteria the university must meet to maintain its StormReady status is having certified storm-spotters on campus.
Out of the 105 people who attended last week’s Skywarn training program, 55 were from Wright State. A total of 60 people attended last year’s training program.
The StormReady designation demonstrates that the university takes emergency preparation seriously, Nagel said.
“It sets Wright State University apart from other universities because it stresses the fact that the university focuses on storm-ready preparedness,” she said.
Only 138 universities in the country have been designated as StormReady.
Andy Latto, a National Weather Service meteorologist and forecaster, said the StormReady designation shows the university has gone the extra mile to follow these guidelines.
The Skywarn storm spotter training, which was offered by the National Weather Service’s Wilmington Forecast Office provided attendees with information about weather development, safety measures and how to collect and report data for NWS.
Participants received basic meteorological training and learned how to understand changes in physical weather in order to spot storms.
The Skywarn spotter program is a nationwide network of volunteers trained by the National Weather Service to report significant weather, including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, snowstorms and flooding.
The information spotters report helps the NWS understand weather conditions on the ground and issue more timely watches and warnings, said Latto, who provided the training during last week’s Skywarn program.
“It’s important to have the public involved because they’re our eyes,” he said. “We need the public to relay this information to us, otherwise we have no idea what’s occurring on the surface.”
The NWS staff at the Wilmington Forecast Office is responsible for issuing warnings for southwestern Ohio, southeast and east central Indiana and much of northern Kentucky.
The Skywarn storm spotter training was offered as part of National Preparedness Month. Nagel stressed the importance of the Wright State community becoming engaged in emergency preparation.
With the new academic year beginning, she encouraged the Wright State community to check the university emergency plan and prepare a winter-weather emergency supply kit.
“Being a StormReady University means that all members of the Wright State community need to take steps to be prepared,” Nagel said. “Make a kit, make a plan, be informed.”
The campus community is also encouraged to register to receive WSU Alert–Emergency Notifications on their cellphones. WSU Alerts provides notifications in the event of a campus emergency and delays and closings due to weather.
Instructions to sign up for WSU Alerts are available on the Emergency Management website.