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Cape Cod National Seashore to Host SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotting Training

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Date: April 8, 2009
Contact: Barbara Dougan, Education Coordinator, 508-255-3421 ext. 16

The National Weather Service will conduct a SKYWARN™ storm spotter training class for the public at Cape Cod National Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center on Tuesday, May 5 from 7 to 9:30 PM. The visitor center is located at the intersection of Route 6 and Nauset Road, Eastham, MA. Storm spotters are trained individuals who assist the National Weather Service and local emergency agencies by reporting local wind gusts, hail size, rainfall, and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado.

SKYWARN™ is a concept developed in the early 1970s to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and communities.  In addition to storm spotting, SKYWARN™ also involves the receipt and effective distribution of National Weather Service information.

Bob Grant, Chief Ranger at Cape Cod National Seashore, says “Early access to information about approaching severe weather is extremely valuable to our operation. Having information that a dangerous storm is going to impact one or several of our beaches, allows our lifeguards and rangers to take precautions and maybe even evacuate an area where thousands of unprotected beach users maybe located. Everyone's safety is greatly enhanced by these warnings.”

SKYWARN™ spotters are not by definition "storm chasers." While their functions and methods are similar, the spotter stays close to home and usually has ties to a local agency. Storm chasers often cover hundreds of miles a day. The term “storm chaser” describes a wide variety of people. Some are meteorologists who are doing specific research or are gathering basic information, such as video, for training or comparison to radar data. Others chase storms to provide live information to the media, and others simply do it for the thrill.                                   

Storm spotting and storm chasing are dangerous and should not be done without proper training, experience, and equipment.

For more information about the training, contact Cape Cod National Seashore Education Specialist Barbara Dougan at 508-255-3421 ext. 16.

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Did You Know?

Spadefoot Toad

An abundance of sandy soil and shallow freshwater ponds for breeding make Cape Cod National Seashore an ideal landscape for Spadefoot Toads. A Threatened Species, the Seashore supports their largest known population in the Northeast. Some park roads are closed on rainy nights to protect them.