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Storm spotter training schedule for Wichita area

The storm spotter training classes in the Wichita area get under way in earnest next week. I sat in on a class for media and found the 90-minute presentation engaging and fast-moving.

You’ll want to go to see video of the Haysville-Wichita-Andover tornado alone. This is the 20th anniversary of that deadly tornado, which hit on April 26, 1991.

The training sessions are important for anyone interested in the weather. This year’s course stresses the distinctions between truly dangerous storms and “scary looking clouds,” as well as the difference between shelf clouds, squall lines and supercell thunderstorms.

All too often these days, Dick Elder of the National Weather Service said, people are calling in claiming to see tornadoes when they’re actually looking at scary clouds, or claiming to see rotation when there isn’t any at all.

This class will help people better understand storm structures. Even if you aren’t interested in being a storm chaser or spotter, the class can be valuable. By better understanding storms, you can have a better sense of what to tell your family during storms – and how and when to respond.