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      Spring Storm Spotter training kicks off

      Weather watchers are key to Upper Michigan's weather network. If you've ever thought about getting involved in that process or, if you just want to learn more about the weather, here's your chance!

      Matt Zika, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township coordinates the training sessions. "Every spring we go out to most of the counties across the U.P. and we give a presentation which we coin our storm spotter training. It's basically a presentation about the weather. We also focus on how folks across the U.P. can get involved in reporting significant weather to us at the National Weather Service office" he said.

      The presentation will look at several recent severe weather events in the Upper Peninsula. They'â??ll also discuss the role of social media in severe weather reporting, and spend a good deal of time focusing on identifying key weather features and reporting potentially hazardous weather.

      When the chips are down, itâ??s those solid ground reports that we count on.

      "When active weather is going on, we rely on those reports to aid in issuing better warnings for folks across the entire U.P. in the hopes that we'll keep people safe and give them advanced warning when storms are heading in their directionâ??, added Zika.

      Spring is the ideal time for the training so folks can prepare for our severe weather season. However, weather watching isn't just summer time ritual. We need weather watchers year round.

      Bruce Taavola lives in Painesdale, in Houghton County. He's been keeping meticulous snow measurements since the 90s.

      "This has been the coldest winter. As far as snowfall, December was our snowiest month. If it would have continued like it was this would have been the snowiest winter. Last year we had 322". We're at 336" right nowâ??, said Taavola.

      We owe Bruce and others like him a hearty thanks for their dedication to weather watching. Check out the spring 2014 storm spotter training schedule through the link below!