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Class to teach weather 'spotters'

October 14, 2005|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

erinc@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Ron Meihls routinely gives local weather reports to the National Weather Service.

After noticing any type of severe whether, like hail or a tornado, he contacts meteorologists via ham radio. While the weather service is in Sterling, Va., Meihls calls them from his Hagerstown home.

In November, Meihls hopes to be one of a large number of people interested in reporting weather from their own backyards. He helped organize a basic Skywarn class - a program that organizes and informs local residents to report rainfall, wind gusts and other weather to the National Weather Service.

Meteorologists use the information along with reports from computers and Doppler technology.

The free Skywarn class will be Nov. 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. Those who complete the class will have basic information and be qualified "spotters" for the weather service, Meihls said.

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"It's primarily designed for on-the-ground verification," he said. "You aren't out there chasing tornadoes. You are observing and reporting. You are the eyes and ears on the ground."

Meihls said there have been Skywarn classes in the area before, but because of weather service staffing limitations the upcoming class is the first in years.

While Meihls said he is a "weather nut," there are no qualifications for the Skywarn training. Anyone interested in the training should contact Meihls to preregister for the class at 301-331-7061 or e-mail KB3MBS@ARRL.NET.

For details about Skywarn, go to www.skywarn.net or www.weather. gov/skywarn.

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