"When it comes to severe weather, I really believe fore warned is fore armed," states Keith Stammer, Joplin, Emergency Management Director.
That's where National Weather Storm Spotter Classes come in.
"I believe that our spotter classes do, in fact, save lives. They let people know what to look for, and in knowing what to look for, you know when it's time to go to shelter," says Stammer.
The classes, taught by National Weather Service meteorologists, are designed to inform the public about how storms develop, what kinds of storms we can see in our region, and what to do when they happen.
Normally, the local National Weather Service Offices in Wichita and Springfield try to hold spotter classes in each county once a year. However, Springfield Meteorologist Steve Runnels says this year, there will be some changes.
"The number of classes has been reduced. We are going to be able to schedule a lot of classes throughout the area, but unfortunately not every county is going to get a class this year," states Steve Runnels, Springfield Meteorologist, National Weather Service.
The changes are the result of reduced funding from the federal level. Runnels says it isn't likely to return in the near future, but that doesn't mean their outreach efforts will stop.
"Training opportunities will likely increase via the internet," says Runnels.
Stammer says not only are classes informative, they also save lives, which is ultimately the most important thing.
"Anyone with experience in the severe weather that we have had over the last several years, knows that severe weather can certainly be a life changing and even a life taking experience," says Stammer.
Spotter classes will be held in Crawford, Barton, and Vernon Counties on February 19th. Jasper and Cherokee counties will be held on March 7th. Newton, McDonald, and Barry counties are scheduled for February 25th.