NWS trains weather watchers in Spotters certification class
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Mar 22, 2013 | 1123 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ANTHONY CAVALLUCCI of the National Weather Service explained his job as a warning coordinator meteorologist to the crowd gathered at a Weather Spotters instructional class Thursday. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
ANTHONY CAVALLUCCI of the National Weather Service explained his job as a warning coordinator meteorologist to the crowd gathered at a Weather Spotters instructional class Thursday. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
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Ham radio operators, business people, safety specialists and others interested in how to read the clouds gathered in an auditorium at Lee University Thursday evening to take part in a Weather Spotters certification class.

National Weather Service Warning Coordinator Meteorologist Anthony Cavallucci, who is based in the Morristown office, said the Bradley County and Southeast region of Tennessee has become a “hot spot” for severe weather such as thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Cavallucci reflected on the past two years of tornadic activity.

Deadly tornadoes struck in April 2011, followed in March 2012, by another destructive twister.

Cavallucci, a former TV meteorologist, said he has instructed three Weather Spotters classes this week.

His territory includes several counties in Virginia, two counties in North Carolina and the southeastern and northeastern regions of Tennessee.

Curtis Cline, administrative officer for Cleveland Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, welcomed the crowd.

“Many of the attendees return for recertification and we also have a number of new area residents interested in knowing what to look for in stormy weather and how to report it to NWS,” Cline said.

“We have equipment such as radar, computers [to] collect and read data, but we can’t see what is going on in your neighborhood or on the ground,” explained Cavallucci.

He said the computers would not indicate how much snow could be on the ground in areas affected by winter snowfall, for example.

“We rely on reporting from the field,” he said.

Meteorologists use the computers and radar to watch what is happening in the atmosphere, tracking storms and if need be — issuing advisories or warnings.

“CBCEMA was glad to host this critical information class and now add additional weather spotters to the NWS SkyWarn system. The certified spotters communicate with NWS regarding what they have observed. Couple information with radar imagery, and that is what could save lives during severe weather events,” Cline said.

Weather spotters work hand in hand with members of the Auxiliary Communications Service under CBCEMA, providing weather information in various parts of Bradley County that is translated by NWS meteorologists.

“We were pleased with the turnout. We have been holding these NWS Weather Spotters classes for a number of years now,” said Bob Gault, information officer for ACS.