Storm spotters prepare for long summer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Storm spotters prepare for long summer

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By John Wilmer

BUTLER COUNTY (KWWL) -- When it comes to severe weather, even with all the fancy tools in the Storm Track 7 weather center, some of the most valuable information that we can bring you is from the eyes on the ground. Trained weather spotters can deliver reports to the National Weather Service of what's actually happening and what's on the way.

Pam Meester has been a storm spotter for Butler and surrounding counties for almost forty years. When she was going through nurses training she was encouraged to take part in disaster training as well.

"My first class was in 1970 and then it was a civil defense class and I was certified under Marshall County's civil defense system in regards to disaster training. I found it really interesting and I've stayed with it ever since," Meester said.

The goal of all storm spotters is to relay information quickly, so if a tornado does touchdown cities in its path can prepare.

"It's one thing to say set off the sirens here in Aplington, that doesn't help Parkersburg. The only way you can help Parkersburg or Cedar Falls is by proper notification and then they can get it from the national weather service," Meester said.

This job is not for the faint of heart. Meester has put herself in harms way and not on purpose, most recently she found herself in front of the EF5 tornado that devastated Parkersburg.

"Five minutes before that if you could have asked me if I was in a safe area I would have said yes because the tornado was going northeast and I was on the east side of it and I was a little bit south. I shouldn't have been in its range, but storms are unpredictable."

If you would like more information on how to become a certified weather spotter you can contact your county emergency management agency.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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