How You Can Spot Storms Safely - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

How You Can Spot Storms Safely

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The National Weather Service has been pretty busy lately issuing warnings and keeping their eyes on the radar this week, but they could use your help as well. Storm spotters can help meteorologists get confirmation in the field to issue a warning, or save data for future research. At the moment, they would like to hear from anyone in Susanville or the Dayton area concerning Wednesday's storms. 

"If it's something really unusual that you've lived here a while and never seen that before, we want to hear about it," said meteorologist Chris Smallcomb. 

The possible tornado in Hawthorne last month is a great example of that. The data can be used for research and some insurance agencies and FEMA may use it as well. 

"80% right. All that data really helps us generate or hone in on what's really going on but actually having someone on the ground near that storm saying we're getting hail, we're getting flooding, there's a ton of lightning. That stuff really does help," said Smallcomb.

Luther Rodgers remembers a good hail storm from a couple years ago in Sparks. 

"I think everybody who had seen it you take everyone's Facebook profile they all had video and pictures of hail that came down," said Rodgers.

However, like most people, Rodgers never thought of sending it to the weather service. You can give them a call at 775-673-8100 or post it on Facebook.

"The trouble around here is you have the storm on radar and it's like okay is that producing just a ton of hail or producing torrential rain," said Smallcomb.

You don't have to be a meteorologist to send in reports. Pictures work well, and video is even better.

How fast is the water moving? Is there any rotation?

"Not everything is real. There is some stuff we still have to filter through. That report does not make sense based on where the storm is. We still have to do some digging," said Smallcomb.

The National Weather Service's number one priority is safety. Which means if you can, stay inside while taking pictures or video. Large hail can bust through windshields and windows. It only takes about six inches of water to knock you off your feet. And while rare, lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles away from the storm itself. 

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