SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – When severe weather threatens, our meteorologists are watching closely, gathering information about storms in the area.
Some of that information may be coming from your neighbors.
People like Robert Webster, a Skywarn storm spotter and ham radio operator.
”Ever since I was small I was interested in what made the weather do what it did,” said Webster.
You may think of storm spotters as being storm chasers – searching for, and following, bad weather.
The majority of spotters stay very close to home or at home.
Even with the greatest technology, sometimes the best way to see what’s going on inside a storm it to have eyes under that storm.
Webster has an office he uses as a command center, relaying important information from in and around storms. Information that helps determine whether storms are severe.
“We serve a number of counties here in the Upstate and the folks are just driving around, they’re at their residence, they look outside and the say, ‘Hey, by the way, this is going on.’ So we can have sometimes 15-20 reports in half an hour.”
Are you interested in weather? You can be a part of this network of people who report everything from rain amounts to hail size to wind damage.
“We also have the GSP Regional Skywarn, of which I’m a part, we have a website, and they can find out about how we operate here in the Upstate. We also serve some of the counties of eastern Georgia and some of the counties that border us in North Carolina.”
The National Weather Service typically holds spotter training courses but those are suspended due to the COVID pandemic. However, an online course is available through the GSP National Weather Service office website or you can do directly to the course page.
More spotters mean more information about what storms are doing, which leads to more accurate storm warnings, keeping you and your family safer. Webster knows this is valuable to everyone.
“We have the opportunity, when the weather gets bad, that we can, at the switch of a button, we can communicate information about what’s going on in our neighborhoods to the National Weather Service and the public service folks that are on there and they can get the information back out,” he explained. “At the end of the day it’s a community service that we are all very driven to do.”