Flagler County Emergency Management and the National Weather Service will host a free Skywarn Storm Spotter webinar class on Monday, August 16, at the request of the county.
Kip Bricker, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, will teach the class. It will cover everything from cloud formations to thunderstorm development to visual predictions.
Flagler County sponsored its last Skywarn class in early March 2020.
Those who participate in the class – which starts at 6 p.m. and will last about an hour – are eligible to become volunteer storm spotters and assist Emergency Management and the National Weather Service by reporting potentially hazardous weather events.
While warnings for thunderstorms are only issued for hail and high winds, lightning is part of all storms and is the cause of more deaths in the United States than tornadoes and hurricanes, according to the National Weather Service.
“It is so important for us to have well-trained volunteers, because it helps improve weather forecasts and supports our first responders,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “These storm spotters serve as the local eyes of the National Weather Service.”
Beginning July 28, severe thunderstorms deemed to be “destructive” will now activate a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on smartphones. Criteria for a destructive threat is hail at least 2.75 inch diameter hail and/or 80 mph winds.
Flagler County has been hosting Skywarn Storm Spotter classes in coordination with the National Weather Service since 1995. Emergency Management Specialist Bob Pickering has organized more than 50 classes.
“Storm spotter reports from Flagler County to the National Weather Service have included: waterspouts, hail, wall clouds, flooding, and even developing tornadoes before they could by detected by weather radar,” he said.
Registration is required, and can be done by visiting www.FlaglerCounty.gov/emergency and selecting Volunteering & Training from the menu (mobile devices may display it as Jump to Subpage).
Otherwise, stay informed about significant weather and other emergencies by signing up for ALERTFlagler at www.flaglercounty. gov/alertflagler.