As the rain began to fall outside Tuesday night, a number of community members gathered at the to hear a presentation from Jim Allsopp about storms. Allsopp is a warning coordination manager for the National Weather Service. Attendees learned about various storms, what to watch for in the sky to identify a tornado and how to call that information in.
The first thing Allsopp cautioned attendees to was to be informed. Before you go out storm spotting, even if it is in your own backyard, you should know what is going on in the atmosphere.
"Have an idea of what is going on and know what you're looking for," he said.
For the first part, he suggested audience members watch satellites or listen to weather radios. The presentation Tuesday night covered the second part - everyone learned what to look for.
The presentation ran from 7 p.m. to about 9 p.m. and covered everything from thunderstorms and floods to lightning and tornadoes. Here are some highlights:
- Thunderstorm ingredients are as follows - moisture, instability and a lifting mechanism.
- Storms have three types - single cell, multi cell and supercell
- The one with the most potential for tornadoes is a supercell
- The most likely time of day for hail or tornadoes is between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles
Trained storm spotters do not get any kind of proof of their training, so those in attendance did not walk away with any certificates. But they did walk away with the knowledge of how to spot a storm cloud that could turn into a tornado. They also walked away with advice on how to stay safe while spotting.
"We don't actually encourage people to get in their vehicles and go out into the storm," he said.