Weather enthusiast wanted to help NWS Phoenix

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Ken Water, Warning Coordinator for the National Weather Service Phoenix. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ken Water, Warning Coordinator for the National Weather Service Phoenix. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

When rain, lightning and dust storms hit the Valley, all eyes are on the sky. For a specially trained group of people in Arizona, it's for good reason.

The National Weather Service relies on their network storm spotters to get them information.

"We want to know that what we are seeing is happening in real time. So is there large hail, is there wind damage and flash floods, that sort of thing," said Ken Water, warning coordinator for the National Weather Service Phoenix.

Storm spotters get their training every year during the National Weather Service’s Skywarn classes. The course goes through a basic overview of weather from how thunderstorms form, to different types of clouds, to Arizona’s famous dust storms.

"We also go over things like tornadoes and other unusual weather events that don’t typically happen in Arizona but people want to know more about. Our main focus is about weather safety weather impacts for the Desert Southwest," said Waters.

The Skywarn program has been in Arizona for more than 20 years and has about 3,000 storm spotters around the state.

"We also closely network with the amateur radio or the 'H.A.M.' folks out there too," said Waters.

Information from storm spotters is instant, especially with the advancement in technology. The pictures, video and reports can get to the National Weather Service in seconds. They combined that with radar and satellite information which helps them make split second decisions.

"That's information we are going to use to decided do we need to issue a warning or do we need to extend a warning," said Waters.

The two hour classes are free and offered in several cities around the state.

"We are very interested in people who live in the outline areas or remote areas of our state. Those towns and cities, are the areas that often it's hard to get real time weather reports," said Waters.

NWS is always looking for weather enthusiast to join the Skywarn group. Classes are happening now. You can visit NWSSKYWARN to register for a class near you. 

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Ashlee DeMartinoAshlee DeMartino is excited to finally be back in her hometown of Phoenix.

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Ashlee DeMartino
Weekend Weather Anchor

An award-winning journalist, Ashlee has worn many hats in her career, one-woman-band, executive producer, anchor, reporter and morning traffic reporter. However, her main focus and passion is weather.

As a Weather Anchor Ashlee has seen the power and destruction of mother-nature up close and personal, reporting on ravaging wildfires, devastating floods, 100 car pile ups in the fog and the rare snow and ice storm on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ashlee graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and is currently enrolled at Mississippi State University in the Geosciences program finishing her degree in Meteorology.

Fun Facts About Ashlee

  • Former Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader
  • Worked for Mattel as Barbie
  • Dancing with the Las Vegas Stars Champion
  • World Traveler
  • Wine and Chocolate connoisseur…never met a carb she didn’t like
  • Cat named Tino

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