More than a few nights during our childhood, my sister and I were awakened by storm sirens. We would sit with our Barbies in the family's first-floor bathroom as our father stood at the open front door, watching for tornadoes. The power of nature manifested in thunderstorms and tornadoes is alternately fascinating and terrifying. The National Weather Service relies on thousands of trained Skywarn storm spotters to report potentially dangerous weather that the agency then broadcasts to the public. The volunteer gig isn't quite as glamorous or crazy stupid as what the Storm Chasers do on the Discovery Channel. But, as the National Weather Service puts it, Skywarn volunteers are the first line of defense against severe weather. In north Texas, which can get more than 50 inches of precipitation a year, that's a good thing to have. Learn the basics of storm development and structure and how to identify and safely report severe weather from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m Saturday in the main auditorium at the Granville Arts Center, 300 N. Fifth St. in Garland. The first session will be dedicated to basic storm spotter training to be followed by advanced training in the afternoon. The class is free and open to the public. Visit srh.noaa.gov for more info.
Sat., Feb. 20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 2010