2009 Dallas County SKYWARN School Announcement from NWS

Post date: Feb 09, 2009 5:20:3 AM

Hello All -

As you know, the 2009 severe weather season is not far off. In preparation, below is the announcement for the 2009 Dallas County Severe Weather Seminar. Please help us in spreading word about this important program through the county. You will notice that we have tightened the agenda up a bit, including moving the start time back to 9:00. In addition, we will approach the morning and afternoon as "stand-alone" sessions, emphasizing that attendees need not spend the entire day with us (although it's certainly desired).

Thanks for your help with the advertising and promotion! If you have any questions, please contact me.


Gary W.



The 2008 storm season in north Texas was one of the more violent in recent history. Thirty four tornadoes were reported across the area, and destructive windstorms, large hail, and deadly flooding all made appearances in our area. The toll on life and property was significant, with many casualties and damage in the tens of millions of dollars.

The 2009 severe weather season is fast approaching. Are you ready for whatever this year has in store? Do you have a severe weather plan at your home and your workplace? Can you recognize the clues that suggest large hail, flash flooding, or a tornado is possible? Do you want to become part of the severe weather warning system in Dallas County?

In partnership with numerous emergency agencies across the county and with KDFW Fox 4, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Fort Worth will conduct the annual Dallas County Severe Weather Seminar on Saturday, February 21, at the Granville Arts Center, 330 N 5th St. in Garland. The basic session will run from 9:00 AM to noon, and the advanced session

will begin at 1:30 PM and end at 3:45 PM. Registration will start at approximately 8:00 AM.

"Some of the feedback we received indicated that people didn't want to commit a full day to the programs", said Gary Woodall, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS in Fort Worth. "This year, we're running the morning and afternoon sessions as stand-alone programs. Folks are invited to attend as much or as little of the program as they want".

The program will kick off with a review of severe weather safety tips and severe weather operations at the National Weather Service. The basic/intermediate storm spotter presentation will be next. This presentation will emphasize thunderstorm formation, severe weather production, and visual clues associated with severe storms. A presentation from the Fox 4 Weather Team will conclude the morning session.

The afternoon presentations will feature advanced training. Amateur radio spotter operations at the National Weather Service will be discussed. Gary Woodall will conclude the afternoon session with a presentation on advanced storm concepts. This session will focus on severe storm environments, theories of severe weather production and tornado formation, and storm evolution.

"Storm spotters play a valuable role in the severe weather warning process", Woodall said. "We take the spotters' observations and combine them with the data from our Doppler radar. This combination gives us the best possible picture of the storms and what's going on inside them".

In addition to the formal presentations, the seminar will feature a variety of exhibits and displays from agencies across the county. Attendees will be able to talk with local experts and obtain information on family preparedness, amateur radio, and emergency response teams.

The seminar is free, and members of the public are welcome to attend. "If you come to this program, you will learn a lot about thunderstorms", Woodall said. "Even if you never become an active storm spotter, you will learn about how storms work and visual clues to utilize when storms are in the area. We will also discuss safety tips to keep in mind before and during severe weather season. You'll learn how to monitor the communications between the storm spotters and the National Weather Service. You will be better prepared for the next time Tarrant County is visited by severe storms".

The Dallas County severe weather program is one of over 40 that the Fort Worth NWS Office will conduct between January and April 2008. However, this is one of only a few "in-depth" seminars which will be presented. For more information on severe weather and the National Weather Service, visit the Fort Worth Forecast Office's website at www.weather.gov/fortworth.



8:00-9:00 Registration/Exhibits

9:00-9:15 Welcome/Introductions

9:15-9:45 NWS Operations/Weather Safety (Gary Woodall, NWS)

9:45-10:40 Baseline Spotter Part 1 (Bill Bunting, NWS)

10:40-11:00 Break

11:00-11:45 Baseline Spotter Part 2

11:45-12:00 Fox 4 Weather Team Presentation


1:30-2:00 NWS Skywarn Amateur Radio Team (Mike Heskett, WB5QLD)

2:00-2:10 Break

2:10-3:30 Advanced Storm Concepts (Gary Woodall, NWS)

3:30-3:45 Concluding Remarks