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Eric Carpenter with the National Weather Service in Jackson teaches a class on becoming a weather spotter at the Grenada Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday. Staff photo / Galen Holley
Staff Writer

   The idea is to get weather information that one can’t get on radar, or “ground truth,” as quickly as possible.
   That’s the value of a storm spotter, and it’s the skill set that Eric Carpenter with the National Weather Service in Jackson tried to instill in a class of 20 Tuesday night at the Grenada Emergency Operations Center.
   The southeastern U.S. is a prime area for violent storms, Carpenter said, and that’s why it’s important to have at least a cursory knowledge of weather.
   Last year the town of Smithville was destroyed by a tornado that measured an EF 5 on the Fujita Scale, but twisters come in all shapes and sizes.
   For example, Carpenter said, a funnel cloud is essentially a tornado that hasn’t made contact with the ground. Between 1950 and 2011, the southeastern U.S. had more long-track, violent tornadoes than anywhere else in the county, including the famous Tornado Alley that winds through the Midwest.

   For complete details, read the print edition or subscribe to the online edition of the GrenadaStar.

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