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Friday, May 6, 2016

Calling all storm chasers

Saturday, February 7, 2009

If you are a thrill seeker who enjoys a good chase you may want to attend a storm chasers training session hosted by the National Weather Service Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the Putnam County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

The meeting is open to the public and pre-registration is not needed.

Putnam County's official storm chaser is Chris Edwards, who has been driving into thunderstorms for 22 years. Over that time he has spotted 17 tornadoes, including five the National Weather Service didn't know about.

"Anytime there is a thunderstorm I go out into it whenever I can," said Edwards, who is coordinating this training session.

"This class tells you how to identify a tornado in order to help the Weather Service give more accurate warnings," said Edwards.

The class takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. It covers a range of topics relevant to finding out information about the storm including intensity, tornadic activity and levels.

Information gathered by storm chasers is sent to the National Weather Service by email or phone.

"Tornado season in Indiana generally starts in March when we see the most activity. It peaks in late May or June and there is a second peak in October," said Edwards.

He says that Indiana hasn't seen Class 4 or 5 tornadoes for a number of years.

"We have seen class 2 or 3 storms in early June," added Edwards.

Tornadoes are ranked by a scale called the Enhanced Fujita Scale and include the wind speeds. An EF0 has winds from 65-85 miles per hour. An EF1 has winds from 86-110 mph. An EF2 is 111-135 mph and an EF3 is 136-165. An EF4 is 166-200 mph and an EF5 has winds over 200 mph.

For more information about the training session call Edwards at 765-720-8650.



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