Volunteers learn how to become CANWARN spotters at a meeting
This class at the North Bay Public Library is one of the many CANWARN Storm spotter training sessions that take place every spring and summer across the country.
CANWARN is a network of people who volunteer to spot severe weather and report it to Environment Canada.
“The issue of course is that we have a lot of technology, radar and satellite, computer software and very sophisticated numerical models but what we still need is actually people at the ground level, the eyes and ears of Environment Canada who can spot severe weather when it’s happening in their local community,” says Peter Kimbell, a CANWARN Instructor.
The storm spotters take that information and forward it to a CANWARN controller who then relays the information to Environment Canada.
EC meteorologists then use that on-the-ground information to make decisions about whether or not to issue a severe weather watch or warning. If they do, they’re highlighted and made available on The Weather Network.
Spotters will report severe weather to Environment Canada
Most of these volunteers have a passion for weather and they realize they play an important role in weather forecasting and alerting.
“Actually I was surprised initially because I thought with all this technology we don’t need people on the ground," says Lori Beckerton, a CANWARN spotter. "So it was really surprising when I was at my very first presentation to hear that and to hear that it’s of importance to the weather office.”
“We are on the ground hands on and we are there to augment and supplement their role," says Dr. Aroha Page, another CANWARN spotter.
And it’s people like the CANWARN spotters who may one day relay information that end up saving lives.