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      NWS is looking for storm spotters

      Last year, severe weather took six lives and injured five people in Michigan. While the National Weather Service does it's very best to alert people about incoming severe thunderstorms, technologies, like radar, have their limitations.

      "They can't see everything out there," said storm spotter Bill Dowe. "Even though they have a sophisticated radar, they can't tell, like I say, you go out so far and you're looking at the tops of the clouds where you want to know what's going on at the bottom; you don't know that unless you've got somebody out there with a pair of eyeballs."

      That's where the general public comes into play. The National Weather Service is looking for storm spotters of any age from anywhere in the Upper Peninsula to report severe weather.

      "We hope they can report hail of any size, any wind gust 40 miles per hour or greater," said Andrew Just of the NWS. "If the storm rolls through and you see some damage, be it some tree branches down or even a full tree comes down, if they observe a funnel cloud."

      These reports help the National Weather Service verify what's going on within a thunderstorm and determine if severe weather warnings need to be issued. The need for spotters is greatest in the least populated areas, like northern Iron County through Baraga County.

      "Luce County north of Newberry is another area that we could use a lot of help," Just said, "as well as northern Dickinson County and southern Marquette County."

      Currently there are 650 spotters in the U.P., but the National Weather Service would love to double that amount. All you have to do is attend a single meeting to become a certified storm spotter. One will take place in each county starting Monday, April 20.