Despite technology, weather spotters are still vital

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Impact on YOU: Attend this free class on Wednesday, April 14, to learn more about spotting tornadic activity, the class begins at 7 p.m. at Zoneton Firehouse.

By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - Despite the modern technology and the sophisticated radars, the role of the weather spotter remains very important.

    In fact, the number of individuals interested in watching the skies for weather issues continues to climb.

    Residents who would like to learn more about the art of tracking storms will have an opportunity to attend a SkyWarn weather spotters class on Wednesday, April 14.

    Marke Richardson, weather guru and mapping expert for the Bullitt County Emergency Management Agency, said the class would be led by a member of the National Weather Service.

    The goal will be to inform guests of what to look for in the skies when tracking tornadic activity.

    Richardson, who first fell in love with weather after the April 3, 1974, tornadoes in Louisville, said from his years of working as a dispatcher, people would call 911 reporting many, many situations.

    In reality, a majority of the calls are unfounded. However, Richardson said it was important for people to keep calling.

    On more than one occasion, Richardson said weather warnings have been posted due to information provided by spotters.

    Even though radar systems have improved over the years, Richardson said it is still important to have people in various locations who can report anything to authorities that might lead to dangerous situations.

    “We still need more spotters,” said Richardson. “We just need them to know what is good information and what isn’t.”

    In Bullitt County EMA, Richardson said the agency possesses one of the most sophisticated radar systems in the country. It can slice, dice and rotate any storm.

    It is more advanced than most television stations.

    And Richardson loves it.

    When threatening weather arrives, Richardson said he can listen to the weather service but he also has the tools necessary to see what’s going on locally.

    The local office has also started a Facebook page to provide the latest in weather information.

    Richardson, however, said there is nothing better than to have a NOAH weather radio in every home and business. He said that is the best source of immediate information for weather warnings.

    The county has 23 outside weather sirens with another four to be installed this year. Richardson said these sirens are not meant to warn people who are inside their homes, unless they live very close to the sirens.

    The county is also working on plans to distribute 500 weather radios through federal grant funds.

    “It will be a great thing,” Richardson said of the weather radios.

    With Accu-Weather already predicting a rough summer, Richardson said it is important for everyone to have a weather radio with batteries and an emergency plan in case disaster strikes.

    Those tips will be provided during the April 14 spotters class. It will be held at the Zoneton Fire Station on Preston Highway from 7-9 p.m. The public is invited to attend.