Mitchell County trains storm spotters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Mitchell County trains storm spotters

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Camilla- Five years ago, extremely high winds and flying debris ripped through Camilla demolishing houses and killing over twenty residents. And it's been almost two years since a violent tornado swept through Mitchell and Worth County unfortunately killing six people and leaving hundreds seriously injured.

"Just to hear about it," says Vern Carter. Vern Carter was safe during the storm but was still affected. He and his wife started a volunteer fire department and were responders to the area. Now he's taking steps to learn how to spot storms.

"I'd like to be more knowledgeable in my area where if we do have severe weather, I'll have the knowledge of what to report, where to report, not just having to call in and say we're having bad weather," says Carter. And he's at a Skywarn training class to meet that goal, a goal that the Mitchell County 9-1-1 Center wants to help volunteers meet.

"It's to make people aware around the county of situations they can get into with the weather because the weather changes so quickly, it's just so they can know what's going on around them and be prepared for it," says Mitchell County EMA Director Ann Lamb.

By knowing what's going on locally volunteers are able to alert the National Weather Service. Radars and technology help them to make guesses about severe weather but storm spotter programs clarify the threat of a severe storm. "We need to know if it's actually occurring and when we recieve that information we can issue a stronger warning or a follow up to the warning and get people's attention," says Bob Goree of the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

Getting people's attention first requires getting the knowledge that weather experts say everyone should take advantage of. "It's mainly some basic meteorology we cover and how to identify severe weather, where to look for a tornado that may be forming and also what may fool you," says Goree.

Because it could make a difference by having many watchful eyes. "We're very serious about the weather in Mitchell County, we keep an eye on it all the time," says Lamb.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com