Helping The Weather Service Spot Storms - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Helping The Weather Service Spot Storms


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On nights when severe storms threaten the Midstate, weather spotters are ready to go.

Down on the ground they report what a radar scan sometimes can't pick up.

Long before the first tornado siren sounds, weathers spotters have been on the job for a good while, calling the National Weather Service with information. 

They can sometimes spot weather events forecasters can't detect with their high-tech equipment. 

On Thursday night, a new class of spotters got the training they need to keep an eye on the sky.

"They give us reliable information as to what actually happens on the ground that radar may show, may not show," said Jerry Orchanian of the National Weather Service.

"Storms have always fascinated and I wanted to know about it to find out what we're seeing," said Christine Wright, a weather spotter. "They seem to be increasing in our area and I wanted to learn more."

In Dickson County Thursday night, weather watchers were on standby, waiting for the forecasted storms.

Stationed across the county, the storm spotters use portable weather equipment and ham radios to communicate with each other and emergency officials.

If tornados, lightning or hail hit, it won't take long for everyone to know when and where.

"Then we relay that information to the 911 center which in turn relays it to the weather service," said Jeff Clark, a storm spotter.  Also we relay it to our dispatchers in there who are setting in there not knowing what's going on."

Dickson County emergency management officials and weather watchers consider it a victory when no one is hurt during severe weather.

On Thursday, a strong line of thunderstorms brought high winds, heavy rains and hail to parts of Tennessee and Kentucky.

Throughout the day, the National Weather Service issued various warnings and watches due to concerns about a tornado outbreak, but the storm system weakened as it cross the Mississippi River, according to the Associated Press.

At least one person died from the system that brought heavy rain, hail and possible tornadoes to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.

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