CARIBOU, Maine — Though technological advancements have allowed the scope of science to expand exponentially, there’s still nothing like firsthand experiences to corroborate what machines and programs are indicating.
That’s why officials at the National Weather Service office in Caribou are looking for community members all over Aroostook County to participate in their Skywarn Weather Spotter program.
A little bit of volunteers’ time can make a big difference for meteorologists, as they can never have too many reports during a significant weather event. Weather service officials rely on Skywarn Weather Spotters to provide reports on what’s actually happening on the ground — what’s called “ground truth” for meteorologists.
“Radar is good, but there’s nothing like getting spotter report for ground truth,” said meteorologist Tim Duda.
Thunderstorms, strong winds and damage they inflict, hail and of course snowfall in the winter all are significant weather events Skywarn Weather Spotters are asked to relay data about. Amateur radio operators are highly sought for the program, as are individuals willing to take photos during weather events.
Three free Skywarn Weather Spotter training dates have been scheduled in Aroostook County. Each session is free of charge and preregistration is not required.
“If you’re interested in becoming one of our volunteer weather spotters, please contact us or plan on attending one of our training sessions,” Caribou weather service officials said.
Training events will take place at the following locations:
• 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 21, Houlton fire station.
• 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, Fort Kent fire station.
• 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 4, Presque Isle fire station.
Additional information regarding the Skywarn Weather Spotter program can be found by visiting http://www.erh.noaa.gov/car/Outreach_Spotters.
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect date for the Skywarn training event in Fort Kent. The session is planned for Tuesday, May 29, not Wednesday, May 23.