KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
National Weather Service representatives came to the Weather Training Complex here, Nov. 2, to present their SkyWarn program for the first time.
The program teaches the basics of thunderstorm development, fundamentals of storm structure, identifying severe weather, what information to report, how to report information and basic severe weather safety. Attendees were also certified as official storm spotters.
This program will also allow the students to put what they learn throughout the course into action.
“We’re looking for way to enhance the learning for the students and with being able to reach out to the NWS, another government organization, which we will be working with a lot outside of the school house, it will ultimately help them hone what they are learning,” said Staff Sgt. Gabriel Altman, 335th Training Squadron Element II instructor.
While the NWS has radars, weather sensors and satellites all over Mississippi, they have their limitations in regards to knowing if severe weather is actually affecting an area. That is where the 335th TRS weather students come in.
“[NWS] can see a tornado signature, but that doesn’t mean there’s a tornado on the ground – it just means that there’s rotations for it,” said Altman. “The storm spotter can actually confirm if it’s on the ground.”
Not only does the NWS benefit with gaining many storm spotters with weather experience, the students benefit from the partnership as well.
“It’s a good way to add a little fresh air to the students’ experience here in the school house,” said Altman. “They are given the chance to see something outside of the school house – to talk to somebody who’s not military. This reinforces the school knowledge they learned and are going to learn in the future.”
This program is currently occurring once a quarter, but Altman is wanting to include it into the curriculum to assist in making it more student-centered.
“This will hopefully give them ownership of the knowledge they’re obtaining, a little more pride of what they have and show them they’re able to have an impact not only in the Air Force, but their communities as well,” said Altman.