Opportunity for residents of Fairbanks to be ‘storm spotters’ for National Weather Service

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) An event was held Wednesday at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to train interested members of the public to be 'storm spotters'.

Storm spotters are everyday individuals who volunteer to identify and report severe weather conditions to the National Weather Service. (Carly Sjordal/KTVF)

Storm spotters are everyday individuals who volunteer to identify and report severe weather conditions to the National Weather Service.

Recently a presentation by the US National Weather Service Fairbanks Alaska and cosponsored by Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Operations was held in preparation of our winter soon to come.

According to Baird Stiefel, the Emergency Manager of the Fairbanks North Star Borough,

"Our weather radar is up high, it doesn't recognize everything and we're also kind of uh, you know the typography changes. Some people live really low near the river, some people live high, so weather events could have an impact that's really, you could have a lot of snow fall in one area and no snow in another. So having that put out there will let safety decisions, other decisions, keep people informed. "

Storm spotters must go through a one hour training, providing them with the correct vocabulary to describe weather, and the knowledge of how to use weather measuring tools.

Though anyone can contact the National Weather Service about weather issues by email, phone, Facebook or twitter in the event that potentially hazardous weather is in the area. Ed Plumb the warning coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Fairbanks said that posts on Facebook have been particularly helpful.

"We've had people commenting on some of our posts 'we've had this much snow here, we have this much snow here' and then they're also providing pictures as well which is really helpful I think. Once one person posts the picture and snow amounts it's starting to get other people interested in posting too which gives us some really great information," said Plumb

Mainly in Alaska storm spotting consists of reporting snowfalls and freezing rain. But this could also extend to abnormal hail. Funnel clouds, flooding, ash and low visibility.

"This is one of the avenues you can help our community and if weather's your interest I encourage you to take it up," said Stiefel.

If you are interested in becoming a storm spotter in our local area, you can call

(907) 458-3708 or visit www.weather.gov/fairbanks

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