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|Storm Spotters gather in Winnsbor|
The National Weather Service (NWS) out of Jackson held a Skywarn Storm Spotters training class in Winnsboro on April 19 to instruct volunteers on what to look for during hazardous weather and how to report it to the organization.
"Adding the spotter information adds credibility to our warnings," said Steve Wilkinson, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS.
The Jackson NWS covers 58 parishes and counties, including Franklin. Parishes to the east of Franklin fall under the umbrella of the Shreveport NWS office.
Wilkinson explained that Franklin Parish is on the edges of both the Jackson and Shreveport weather services, which makes the assistance of Storm Spotters even more important.
"We can see high winds on radar, but we can't always see what is happening on the ground," Wilkinson said.
The 30-plus attending the training class were many local ham radio operators, some First Responders and interested members of the community. They were instructed on how to accurately identify different storm systems, including funnel clouds, wall clouds and tornados, and the distinctions between severe and hazardous conditions.
Refreshments for the event were donated by the Winnsboro Wal-Mart.
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and west Georgia are in "Dixie Alley," which Wilkinson said is a tornado-pron area due to influence from warm air coming off of the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition to weather identification, spotters were instructed on hazardous weather safety precautions. Wilkinson recommended the use of NOAA weather radios as well as internet, television and radio information.
To check the Jackson NWS, visit Web site www.srh.noaa.gov/jan or on NOAA weather radio 146.940 MHz.