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Spotters Prep For Storm Season

Spring is just around the corner. But with all the hopes of blooming flowers and cool breezes comes a simple fact of life in the Midwest: storm season.. As KSMU’S Mike Donnelly reports, the National Weather Service in Springfield is gearing up to inform residents in the region about storms and how to spot them.

[Sound – people talking]

On a clear chilly night in Springfield, 30 to 40 people gather in the worship room at the Assemblies of God Headquarter on Boonville Avenue, but not only to stay out of the cold.

They’re here to learn about how to prepare for the next few months of thunderstorms and tornados. That includes not only how to stay safe during a storm, but also information on spotting and reporting them.

Some attendees are professionals; others are amateur storm spotters. The remaining are part of the general public who came to be more informed about severe weather.Steve Runnels, meteorologist and chief speaker, explains why the event is so important.

”It’s easy to report upon a tornado, but can you get safely in a position to report a funnel cloud or wall cloud, which precede the tornado? And that’s what made these people coming to the class here so valuable to the National Weather Service: their information allows us to get an early lead on what’s happening, confirming the presence of severe weather, and then we can relate to the media,” he said.

During his presentation, Runnels touched upon the methods of spotting incoming weather, and also ways to stay safe.

“One of the biggest things we’ve talked about here tonight is safety at all times. You don’t want to get too close. Your report becomes not only less valuable, it becomes dangerous,” he said.

Veteran of the event, amateur radio operator and storm spotter Jeff Kerr, says that the event is something he goes to every year.

“It’s good to come to the trainings every year, to stay up with what’s going on and just be reminded of what we’re here to do,” he said.

The National Weather Service will host several other severe weather information sessions throughout the Ozarks until the end of April. For more information about class locations and times, call their offices at 863-8028 or go to our website,

For KSMU News, I’m Mike Donnelly