Weather service recruiting more eyes on the skies |

Weather service recruiting more eyes on the skies

The National Weather Service is looking for more of one of its most valuable resources, witnesses.

The value of that resource was reinforced when thunderstorms developed Tuesday afternoon. The radar at the Reno Office of the National Weather Service was down for regular maintenance, forcing meteorologists to rely on information from spotters.

“Any time we saw something on satellite, we would call a spotter in the area and ask what they were seeing. We are especially concerned with strong winds and large hail,” said Rhett Milne, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “We got a lot of information that helped us determine what was going on.”

The National Weather Service reported intermittent wind gusts up to 45 mph and pea-sized hail in several parts of Northern Nevada. Scattered showers will continue through Thursday with the chance of isolated showers through the weekend. Highs are expected to be in the upper 80s for the remainder of the week.

The Reno Office of the National Weather Service is holding a weather spotter training session at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fire Station No. 2, on College Parkway.

The training will highlight how spotters help the National Weather Service, issue life-saving weather warnings, and includes topics such as severe thunderstorms, flash floods, winter storms and other extreme weather.

“We are looking for people to report active weather that the National Weather Service may not know about. Thunderstorm activity, strong winds or even hail in their area,” said Milne.

The 90-minute training will cover weather phenomenon from all four seasons, including what to watch for in forming thunderstorms and how to measure snowfall and wind speeds.

“One of the things we talk about is the thunderstorm life cycle, what to look for from the forming and beginning stages through to the end of the storm,” Milne said.

Milne said the weather service is especially interested in training residents from more rural areas.

“We have spotters in Reno and Carson City. What we really need is spotters to highlight areas outside those cities and give us a more complete picture,” Milne said.

There is no cost to attend the training and advance reservations are not required.

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