Weather spotter training
May 16, 2019
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Cheyenne offered weather spotter training at the Pine Bluffs town hall on May 7th. This training was devised to help local residents understand what to watch for when dealing with severe weather. Oftentimes in Pine Bluffs we are subject to much harsher weather than other parts of the state because of where we are located, and this training gave residents who attended some vital information.
The NWS outlined some of the warning signs to watch for, and also listed specific situations that should be reported. Residents were cautioned to watch for high winds. High winds are defined as anything between 58 to 72 miles per hour. At these speeds people can start to expect minor damage to property and smaller trees. Anything above 72 miles per hour and people can start to expect major damages and destruction of property. Residents were also cautioned to report incidents of hail. Contrary to popular belief, hail does not have to be any certain size before it is reported, and in fact, all hail storms should be reported. When reporting a hail storm the NWS requests that sizes should be reported in terms of coins or actual size measurements. It is requested that people avoid using terms like “marbles” when reporting hail as they can come in a variety of sizes. A good rule of thumb is to use the following chart: .25 inches peas, .75 inches pennies, 1 inch quarter, 1.5 inches ping pong balls, 1.75 inches golf balls, 2 inches limes, 2.5 inches tennis balls, 2.75 inches baseballs, 4 inches softballs, and 4.5 inches grapefruits.
The NWS also gave out guidelines for understanding cloud formations and the difference between tornados and dust devils. Several videos were shown, and pictures of various cloud structures were displayed in order to help residents to be able to identify the various types of clouds one might see in the Wyoming sky.
For those who feel as though they are seeing or experiencing a weather incident the NWS would like to stress that it is better to be safe than sorry. For those wishing to report, please do one of the following: call 1-800-269-6220 (press 7), or report over amateur radio at WX7CYS. The NWS wants to know the start and end of the weather event, and please provide frequent updates. Never assume that someone else is reporting what you are seeing. For those who would like to follow weather events in real time the NWS can be found on Facebook at Facebook.com/NWSCheyenne, on Twitter @NWSCheyenne, and on YouTube.com/NWSCheyenne.
Keeping everyone safe during a weather incident is much easier when there are many eyes watching the skies. If you see a unique weather incident and can safely take a photo please send a postcard with your name, address and the exact location to CYS Spotter Program NOAA/National Weather Service, 1301 Airport Parkway, Cheyenne, WY 82001