Helping Weather Service through SKYWARN class

Helping Weather Service through SKYWARN class

Image Credit: File

Ominous clouds roll into the area, the air grows still and silent, or maybe it gusts up to 70 mph as lightning flashes and thunder claps.

Maybe those ominous clouds begin to spin in an eerie and unusual formation, followed by large hail and a tornado.

Having the ability to forewarn people when severe weather rolls into Holmes County is a critical part of getting people to safety. An upcoming event in Lakeville will open the door to an opportunity to serve the community for those who share a fascination for what’s happening in the weather and helping others.

The Holmes County Emergency Management Agency recently announced a SKYWARN Spotter Class that will take place Wednesday, April 20 at the Lakeville Fire Station at 13979 state Route 226 in Lakeville, with the program beginning at 6 p.m. The training is free and lasts approximately two hours.

SKYWARN is a volunteer program with between 350,000 and 400,000 trained severe weather spotters and is part of the National Weather Service. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

“It’s a really intriguing opportunity for anyone to become part of a program that can play a role in protecting people and saving lives,” said Jason Troyer, Holmes County EMA director. “It’s very enticing for people who like to keep an eye on the sky and have a desire to help others.”

Troyer said the SKYWARN program has been around for some years, although he isn’t sure when it last came to Holmes County. He said Wayne County quickly filled to capacity for its March 24 program in Wooster.

“I really don’t know when or if it has ever been offered in Holmes County, but I do know it has drawn a great deal of interest from a lot of people,” Troyer said.

The typical topics those attending the event will be taught include basic understanding of thunderstorm development, fundamentals of storm structure, identifying potential severe weather features, information to report, how to report information and basic weather safety techniques.

The National Weather Service and Holmes County EMA office encourages anyone interested in public service to join the SKYWARN program.

Volunteers include police, fire personnel, EMS providers, dispatchers, public utility workers and concerned citizens who share a passion for helping others avoid getting caught in harmful weather patterns.

Troyer said they are encouraging individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes and other organizations responsible for the well-being of others to become spotters through the program.

“It’s a terrific way to educate oneself in times of severe weather,” Troyer said. “Just knowing what is taking place as severe weather looms is a good thing for anyone to be able to recognize, but being able to have the opportunity to share that information with others and help them prepare to be as safe as possible is what is important.”

Troyer said once someone takes the class, they will receive a card from the National Weather Service that has a direct phone line to the NWS to help it provide valuable weather information updates during severe storms.

Registration is required for the class. Those interested may register by completing a class online form at Once on the page, click on Training Schedule under the Click Here for SKYWARN Schedule listing. Once there, the schedule listings are placed on the page in order of date, so scroll down to the Lakeville location on April 20 and click on register here, located on the right side of the page.

Interested parties also can register by emailing their name, email address, phone number and whether they are a new or existing spotter to

Any questions about the program can be directed to the Holmes County Emergency Management Agency office at 330-674-0989.

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