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Storm spotter training aims at keeping communities safe

Keeping communities safe during severe weather is vital when it comes to tornadoes. The more eyes on the sky, the more information that local National Weather Service offices can use to provide for more timely and accurate warnings, in turn giving ABC 17 viewers reliable information to keep people safe.

As we gear up for severe weather season, the Boone County Emergency Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with the NWS, will provide a class Thursday at the American Legion Hall in Columbia at 6:30-9 p.m.. The class is aimed at instructing community members how to properly identify severe weather and relay it to the NWS.

Elizabeth Thompson, an exercise and training specialist with the Boone County Office of Emergency Management said, “it’s very important to have the community involved because then we have more people on the ground so to speak, and we are able to amplify our abilities and capabilities to spot these storms.”

As community members become more informed about severe weather and the process behind it they become better prepared for future severe weather days. While the class is free to all who attend, you must be 18 years of age to become a spotter.

With the age limits in place and many weather enthusiasts out there, you still can take part in tracking the weather. The ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team relies on our viewers to relay information to us about what they are seeing. This typically involves giving a temperature reading, sky conditions, wind speed, and if any rain is occurring. Although technology is improving immensely each year, there are still some things that radar can’t decipher due to distance from the radar, how fine the rain is and if what is occurring is falling below the radar beam.

It’s through these programs that community members can become engaged and learn more about weather. If you would like to become an ABC 17 Stormtracker you can email us at

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