It takes a combination of technology and human ability to keep track of severe weather.
That human element involves trained experts like the 6 Storm Team, but it can also include you.
One way you can help track severe weather is to become a certified weather spotter. Trained weather spotters are essential to meteorologists, both at WATE and the National Weather Service.
While Doppler radar and satellites can give great indications of severe weather, confirmation of severe storms is essential.
"One thing that we lack is eyes on the ground where severe weather is occuring," says Brian Boyd, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "That can only be obtained by spotters, people on the ground to tell us there is a funnel cloud or dime-size hail or wind blowing trees into power lines. These kinds of things are where our bread is buttered."
The typical weather spotter has a love for weather. He or she can be a teenager to a retired senior citizen.
It's realitvely easy to become a trained spotter. All you have to do is attende a spotter training session to learn the basics of severe weather and how to report it correctly.
Once severe weather arrives, you volunteer time as you can and report any severe weather based on your training.
This in turn allows meteorologists to understand what they are seeing on radar.
"I always had an interest in weather itself and got into spotting," said Rick Coffey, Blount County's emergency coordinator and a storm spotter. "Basically, listening to a scanner with big storms going through and heard ham radio operators giving reports to the National Weather Service, I thought it was interesting and worthwhile to the community."
For more information on becoming a trained storm spotter and check the schedule of upcoming classes, visit the National Weather Service's Web site.
« Back to Understanding Weather