Colquitt County storm spotters stress the importance of being tr - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Colquitt County storm spotters stress the importance of being trained

Colquitt County is fortunate enough to have two certified storm spotters. (Source: WALB) Colquitt County is fortunate enough to have two certified storm spotters. (Source: WALB)
Rick Lipscomb caught this dust storm on video from the first week of April. (Source: WALB) Rick Lipscomb caught this dust storm on video from the first week of April. (Source: WALB)
Since the WALB Storm Tracker can't make it to every storm, trained storm spotters become very important during severe weather. (Source: WALB) Since the WALB Storm Tracker can't make it to every storm, trained storm spotters become very important during severe weather. (Source: WALB)
Certified storm spotter Larry Morrell Jr. was on the January 22nd storm that eventually produced the 70 mile long tornado. (Source: WALB) Certified storm spotter Larry Morrell Jr. was on the January 22nd storm that eventually produced the 70 mile long tornado. (Source: WALB)
Rick Lipscomb has been storm chasing for nearly 30 years and has no intention of stopping any time soon. (Source: WALB) Rick Lipscomb has been storm chasing for nearly 30 years and has no intention of stopping any time soon. (Source: WALB)
COLQUITT CO., GA (WALB) -

Thankfully it is a beautiful afternoon in Moultrie, but it's important to remember that Southwest Georgia is still in the middle of severe weather season. 

The time of the year two Colquitt County storm chasers hit the road, and turn their attention to the sky. 

The WALB Storm Tracker can't make it to every storm across South Georgia. That's why we have a small network of certified storm spotters to lend us a hand in the field. 

Colquitt County has two of their very own storm chasers, Larry Morrell, Jr. and Rick Lipscomb, who have been chasing storms for a combined forty-seven years. 

Some people consider storm chasers to be a little crazy, but most weather fanatics chase storms to help others.

"Basically to save lives, to give out that advanced warning, because radar can't always pick up everything when It is close to the ground," said storm spotter Larry Morrell, Jr. 

As a trained storm spotter, you can submit storm reports of hail, wind, and even tornadoes to the National Weather Service, which helps them either confirm a current warning, or issue a new one for a storm.

"In case there is not a warning, they'll actually go ahead and issue a warning based on the spotter's reports. Thus giving lead time, advanced lead time for the general public in the area," said Morrell Jr.  

Since January's storms, a lot of people have developed a fear and anxiety of storms. Rick Lipscomb had that same feeling at a young age, but decided to do something about it.

"I decided if I'm going to be scared of it, let's learn about it. The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with it, and learned that every time a thunderstorms shows up, a tornado is not going to drop out of the sky," said storm spotter Rick Lipscomb.

In his 30 years of chasing storms. Lipscomb has captured incredible footage of tornadoes, lightning and hail. Through his experience, he has advice for anyone thinking of becoming a trained storm spotter.

"You have to do it safe, you have to obey traffic laws, but you can do it. Just remember, things can turn south very quick, even with experienced chasers, things can turn south really quick," said Lipscomb. 

Safety is stressed during the National Weather Service training sessions, but you will also learn how to identify certain cloud formations, measure wind speeds, and hail sizes, along with how to submit reports.

Storm chasing is not for everyone, and you should be trained to do it. 

If you are interested in taking one of these classes from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee is planning a beginners storm spotting training session.

Although no specific date has been set, they are trying to have it by the end of the month.

Their phone number is 850-942-8833

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved. 

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