The 2016 severe weather season is fast approaching. Are you ready? Can you recognize the clues that suggest large hail, flash flooding, or a tornado is possible? As part of its area-wide weather preparedness campaign, the National Weather Service Office in Fort Worth will answer these and many other questions at the SKYWARN severe weather program on Saturday, Feb. 20. The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Granville Arts Center, 300 N. Fifth St., and is sponsored by the City of Garland Office of Emergency Management.
During the first half of the day, the National Weather Service (NWS) will discuss thunderstorm formation and features associated with severe storms. This past year, the North Texas region saw a record number of severe storms, so there will be a lot of new information presented.
The presentation will include a review on tornado formation and behavior and will give some insight as to why some storms produce tornadoes and some do not. Most importantly, the NWS will discuss what you can do to stay safe and keep others safe when thunderstorms threaten. For those interested in becoming a storm spotter, the program will discuss spotter operations and recommended reporting procedures.
The second half of the program will feature basic radar interpretation, advanced discussion on the first half of the day and a radio demonstration. The fundamental purpose of the spotter training - and of the storm spotter network as a whole - remains unchanged. “Weather Radar is a great tool, but it only tells part of a storm’s story. Spotter observations are fundamental to the protection of life,” said Tom Bradshaw, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the Fort Worth Office.
The 2016 program will be special as this will be Garland’s 40th year to host the event. In addition to discussions led by NWS representatives, those in attendance will have a chance to take home a weather radio during one of the many raffles throughout the day.
The program is free and open to the public. No advanced registration is necessary and lunch will be available for purchase from food trucks. Even if you don’t become an active storm spotter, you will learn how storms work and visual clues you can identify to keep you and your loved ones safe.
For more information, contact the Garland Office of Emergency Management at OEM@GarlandTx.gov. Follow the National Weather Service Office in Fort Worth on social media including Facebook and Twitter (@NWSFortWorth). See a program schedule below.