Weather-spotters needed in mountain counties

The National Weather Service (NWS) and the Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) are offering a series of training workshops for mountain residents interested in becoming local "weather spotters" for NWS and MAIN.

The 90-minute workshops will include a basic orientation to weather observation, plus instruction on how to report local weather information. Weather-spotters are a critical link in the NWS's severe-weather forecasting, says Vince DiCarlo, warning coodination meteorologist at the NWS Warning and Forecast Office at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport.

"While Doppler radar significantly improves weather coverage over Western North Carolina, it is not a substitute for a person reporting ground-level information directly to our meteorologists", DiCarlo says. NWS currently has more than 600 weather-spotters in WNC.

The workshops are being coordinated in WNC by the Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN), which will use the NWS weather observations for online weather reporting via its new community network website at "This is a great partnership for MAIN because, as a community network, our goal is to make local news and information quickly available online for citizens in the mountain region," said Wally Bowen, executive director of MAIN. MAIN is a non-profit, Internet-access cooperative with local dial-up service in the counties of Mitchell, Yancey, McDowell, Madison, Buncombe, Polk, Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Macon, Graham, Cherokee, Clay and Qualla Boundary.

All workshops start at 7 p.m. The workshop schedule is:

  • Feb. 21 in Murphy at the Murphy Public Library
  • Feb. 22 in Cullowhee at Bird Hall, Western Carolina University
  • Feb. 24 in Asheville in the Public Service Building, 3rd floor
  • Feb. 29 in Robbinsville at the Graham County Public Library
  • March 2 in Burnsville at the Yancey County Public Library
  • March 9 Franklin at the Macon County Public Library.
Participants can register for the free workshops by calling MAIN at 828-255-0182 or by emailing
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