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...Amateur Radio Operators and Storm Spotters...
The National Weather Service uses a variety of methods to predict and track severe weather. But even with the latest technology, we still heavily rely on the eyes and ears of our partners in the field to help us know what's really happening. Historically, amateur radio operators have played a major role in severe weather operations of the National Weather Service. Often referred to as Hams, these volunteers lend their time, expertise and equipment in the forecast office to help communicate with the community when storms threaten. One reason why amateur radio is so beneficial to the National Weather Service is that it offers the ability to communicate with operators from all across the region simultaneously. Our Ham radio operators often communicate directly with our trained storm spotters. Storm spotters are trained volunteers who come from all walks of life. Many work with their local emergency management office to collect weather information. They provide the National Weather Service with critical information to aid in the warning decision-making process. Some of our spotters are members of their local community fire and police departments, members of the department of public safety, or city and county officials. Other spotters are simply members of the public concerned with helping their community in a time of need. Storm spotters are trained to safely observe and report severe weather by attending one of our storm spotter training classes. These classes are conducted as a joint effort between local emergency organizations and the local National Weather Service office. Several classes are offered across the region during the spring months, and again during the autumn months. For more information about storm spotting and how you might get involved, check out our Skywarn website at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/shv/spotter/

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