Written By: Thursday, March 16th 2017

More proof that Canadians love to talk about the weather and more specifically residents in Grey Bruce.

An upcoming CANWARN Storm Spotter training session hosted by Grey County April 5 is already full.

The county’s Communication Manager, Rob Hatten contacted the Dock on Thursday to say all 75 places for the free session were now full.

Dock News Director Diana Meder has her ticket to the Storm Spotter training session

Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson, who’ll be doing the training says weather is always a popular topic in this country.

He says the CANWARN program has grown a lot in the past ten to fifteen years since starting with HAM radio operators in the 80’s.

Coulson says the program will mainly key in on severe summer weather but also other types of winter weather they’d like to get reports on.

He says being a CANWARN Spotter doesn’t necessarily mean you’re changing your behaviour or life all that much.

“We’re just asking you to pay attention to your surroundings and report back to us on what you see.”

He says a lot of folks who come for the training are usually already pretty weather savvy while others are not so they start at a basic level with some weather websites including radar and lightening detection systems.

Coulson believes CANWARN has become even more important over the past few years when we’re inundated with social media posts.

“Sometimes we’re faced with the issue of trying to ‘ground truth’ what we’re getting and having to determine if the reports are serious but if we know its from a specially trained spotter, then we know we can trust the information”.

He says what they’re looking for mainly are reports on severe weather including big hail, damaging winds or funnel clouds.

Coulson says while they’ve got Doppler and other sites, those systems can only give a sense that a storm could be severe.

He says they still can’t SEE a tornado on radar because its a small scale phenomenon happening in a localized area.

That’s where Storm Spotters come into play.

Environment Canada will also come to the session armed with registration forms and individually numbered official ID cards for anyone wanting to sign up on the spot.

He says they get plotted on the map and sometimes we proactively contact our spotters to watch for storms in the area.

Coulson will be conducting an afternoon training session for county staff before the public session in the evening.