They say the key is to prepare and provide enough warning to save those caught in the path of a severe storm.
Saturday, the Vermilion County EMA prepared with its first in a series of storm spotter classes. The classes were open to new and former spotters. The training keeps former spotters up to date on what they need to know and trains new spotters on what to do, and what to look for in a severe weather event.
"The storm spotters help fill in the missing parts, the parts the radar cannot identify, so it's extremely critical that the spotters go through annual training," said National Weather Service Meteorologist, Chris Miller, who is also the class teacher. Georgetown resident, Damon Smith is no stranger to the power of a tornado. He's been spotting storms for the last 11 years. He said he's seen his share of destruction but his work helps to save those in the path of the storm.
"I've seen straight line winds rip a junior high school roof off twice for that matter, and I've seen telephone poles go like a domino effect, one after another," added Smith.
Miller says the training is essential to help save lives during severe weather. He says the spotters can provide the warning people need to seek shelter in time.
"When you have those eyes out there that are reporting in to you, the rotation, the funnel clouds, the size of the hail. It really makes a difference as far as getting warnings out efficiently to the public."
Other classes will be held Monday, March 5th at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday. March 22nd at 6:30 p.m.
Both sessions will be held at the Emergency Management Agency office at 2507 Georgetown Road.
Anyone interested in attending the Weather Spotter class should call the Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency office to register.
Call 443-6010 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
For more information on Severe weather and Severe Weather Preparedness Week, click here .