California University of Pennsylvania offers training for weather spotters
Brittany Kusniar remembers dime-sized hail raining on her car while she was driving home to Uniontown last summer, and how her severe-weather training kicked in.
The SkyWarn volunteer with the National Weather Service took measurements and reported them through a Facebook page run by the agency's Pittsburgh office.
“It wasn't all that bad, but it is still nice for them to know,” said Kusniar, 21, a junior meteorology major at California University of Pennsylvania. “On radar, a meteorologist can assume hail is probably falling ... but it's nice to verify it.”
Kusniar in 2012 attended her first training session for the SkyWarn program. She will attend her second on Tuesday, when Cal U hosts its annual basic training session. It begins offering an advanced online course on Monday.
Both are free to the public. Sessions last about an hour.
SkyWarn trains people to be severe-weather spotters and report events across the country to the National Weather Service. Nearly 300,000 people participate, including about 4,000 in the region that includes Western Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.
“We teach people to be the eyes and ears for us when severe weather strikes,” said Fred McMullen, the warning coordination meteorologist at the agency's Moon office. “It's a way for them to help us, partner with us, to fulfill our mission to protect life and property.”
The training sessions inform people what to look for and how to report it. The agency takes reports by phone, email, Facebook and Twitter.
“If you see something, tell us. That's it,” McMullen said.
The agency offers training sessions each February, March and April in advance of anticipated storms in May and June, McMullen said.
The sessions next week are the last for this year.
Kusniar volunteered at the Moon office last summer, spending considerable time tracking reports from other SkyWarn spotters.
“Once a week, every week, there was some severe thunderstorm,” she said. “When we have these events, the phones are ringing off the hook at the weather center. The training enhances (spotters') credibility.”
Jason Cato is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers opt for youth, speed while revamping roster
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Pirates’ Polanco runs into rookie wall
- 3 wrecks Saturday keep emergency responders busy
- States clear way for startups to use crowdfunding
- Versatile U-PARC houses productive assortment
- Biertempfel: First base becoming new hot corner for Pirates
- TCS transcends small beginnings
- New Kensington-Arnold continues to shuffle security staff
- U-PARC gives NEP Broadcasting space to grow
- Carnegie Mellon grad’s tweak to tweets turns 7