Volunteers are needed to track the weather

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Officials from the National Weather Service in Grand Junction didn't know that tornadolike winds had ripped through an area east of Craig last fall until someone called in with questions about them.

It's one reason why the agency is culling volunteers to regularly report weather occurrences.

"Case in point on why we need weather spotters is the tornado that hit the subdivision in Craig," said meteorologist Jim Pringle with the weather service in Grand Junction. "We didn't even know about it. It just brings up why we need weather spotters."

Three funnel clouds were re--por-ted near Wilderness Ranch, a subdivision about 30 miles northeast of Craig in September, in a storm that resulted in about 60-acres of Aspen trees seared off at the 3-foot-high mark. Had weather-spotter volunteers been stationed in the area, the Weather Service could have been better able to track the incident.

Volunteers who are interested in compiling weather data are encouraged to attend a training Tuesday night, Pringle said.

People are needed from all parts of Moffat County, he said.

Large-scoped weather predictions don't always identify weather patterns and trends that are occurring locally.

"They don't tell us the whole story," Pringle said.

Classes and training are free and the volunteer work is generally easy to do, he said. Volunteers are equipped with supplies to track weather.

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