Skywarn' training could help save lives

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
April 12, 2001
DECATUR In an effort to promote preparedness, Newton County Emergency Management Agency officials will sponsor free Skywarn training at the Newton County Civic Center, formally the Newton County Livestock Arena, Tuesday at 7 p.m.
NEMA Director Gary Galloway said the training, conducted by National Weather Service officials, could save lives.
Galloway said National Weather Service officials are focused on the East Central Mississippi area because they can't always spot storms from Doppler radar in Jackson.
He said Jim Butch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, will present the Skywarn program. Butch visited Lauderdale County's Dalewood and Russell communities to assess damage caused by a December tornado, he said.
He said the program teaches them to report meaningful, useful information to National Weather Service officials. These officials usually record Skywarn-trained residents' phone numbers so they can be contacted for reports when severe weather approaches their area.
He said Butch will lecture and use visual aids, such as slides of actual tornadoes developing. Spotters will learn what side of a storm is safer, what a wall cloud looks like, storm cell anatomy, how updrafts work and how hail is formed. Butch may also give information about federal government grant programs for storm victims.
The session is open to the public. The Civic Center is located on Coliseum Drive off Highway 15. For more information, call 635-4301.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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