Weather spotting course to take place on Feb. 22 is now full

COLUMBIA — It isn’t every day that a tornado or flood happens, but when it does, Columbia residents will have the training to chase it and report it.

The National Weather Service has teamed up with the Office of Emergency Management to host a weather spotter training course on Feb. 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Columbia Police Department Training facility.

The course is free; however, it is completely full. According to the Public Information Officer for the Office of Emergency Management Scott Smith, there are 85 interested people so far, and the class is maxed out.

“This course will train the public on what to look for and how to identify cloud formations and approaching storms,” said Smith. “It’s likened to storm-chasing as people will be assigned to certain areas and be the on-scene eyes and ears for the National Weather Service.”

The course will also cover basic weather safety and where and when to report severe weather.

“I’m not sure why so many people are interested in the class,” Director of the Office of Emergency Management Zim Schwartz said. “I’m just thrilled at the overwhelming response and Columbia citizens willingness to volunteer.”

The National Weather Service and the Office of Emergency Management has not yet scheduled another class to fill the demand of interested people.

“The chief meteorologist is out of St. Louis and we’re not sure when or if he will be able to return to teach another class,” Schwartz said.

According to Schwartz, they still want to hear from anyone interested in attending a possible future class. For more information, please contact the county Office of Emergency Management at 874-7400.

See the Missourian story here.

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