Aerial view of the Dowagiac campus

Weather spotter training offered March 6

02/10/2017 - 2pm

Storm spotter training returns Monday, March 6, at 6 p.m. in the Southwestern Michigan College Charles O. Zollar Building Student Activity Center theatre off Dailey Road on the Dowagiac campus.

Community members are invited. Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m.

Register online for free training at

No Internet? No problem, call (269) 445-1460 or (574) 834-1104.

National Weather Service Northern Indiana presents training, hosted by Cass County Emergency Management.

SMC and Cass County were recognized at the Nov. 17, 2016, Board of Commissioners meeting by the NWS as “StormReady” communities.

Seventy citizens attended a similar training at SMC on snowy March 23, 2015, to learn about tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding associated with spring.

That same day, South Bend’s 4.7 inches of snow eclipsed a 1965 record, 3.4 inches.

“Trends are pretty clear,” an NWS meteorologist said. “There is an increasing number of extreme weather events costing the nation a lot of money and lives” — 658 U.S. fatalities on average annually with weather-related financial losses approaching $15 billion.

NWS Northern Indiana is responsible for protecting 2.3 million lives and property in 37 counties of northern Indiana (24), southwest Michigan (five, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Branch and Hillsdale) and northwest Ohio (eight).

It has sole responsibility for issuing watches (conditions favorable, be ready to take shelter) and warnings (imminent).

NWS Northern Indiana is one of 122 such offices nationally.

SKYWARN spotters learn the difference between tornadoes and funnel clouds and that a derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm associated with land-based, fast-moving severe thunderstorms.