Stefanie Cope

Staff Writer

Storm season is upon us and Cherokee County is gearing up for it.

Cherokee County Emergency Management and the National Weather Service hosted a severe weather spotter class open to the public Tuesday at the Galena High School Performing Arts Center.

Aspiring storm spotters were taught how to distinguish between different types of clouds, what to look for in case of a tornado and how to accurately report severe weather to the NWS safely.

Doug Cramer, a meteorologist with the NWS led the class. He uses the classes as a tool to not only help the NWS be more accurate, but also to help citizens be more accurate when making reports.

Jason Allison, director of Cherokee County Emergency Management, spoke briefly on how to recognize floods and report them.

He also said it is best to stay away from flooded roads and not try to drive through them because there is no way to tell how deep the water is or how fast the current is running.

Cramer’s main topic of the night was safety. He said safety is a big concern when weather spotting. Safety for the spotters and safety for the people in the path of the storms. He discussed what went wrong with predicting the path of the 2008 tornado in Picher, Okla. He also discussed the safest spots to be as a storm spotter during severe weather so spotters do not risk injury or death during a storm or tornado.

He also taught how to recognize a supercell thunderstorm, the storm most capable of producing tornadoes, on the radar and in the sky. He explained how a supercell will have a “hook“ on radar, which is the area of the storm where tornadoes are most likely to occur.

At the end of the night Cramer had the future weather spotters take a test. The test utilized videos taken of different storms and tornadoes and had the spotters write down what they thought was going on in the storm and what type of severe weather might come with the storm.