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      More than 100 new Certified Storm Spotters

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      There was a packed house Thursday night at the Crossroads Center in Pittsfield, Ill. for the first of the Tri-State's Storm Spotter Training Classes from The National Weather Service.

      Over 100 Pike, Adams, Marion and Lewis County residents attended the certification which is taught by Jim Kramper, a head forecaster with the National Weather Service office in St.Louis.

      "We are always looking for more people who can help us out, we've got great equipment and the radar is a fantastic tool but the bottom line is that we don't know for sure what is happening at the ground till people tell us and that is what weather spotters can do," Kramper said. "They can tell me there is hail falling and the size, they can tell me wind damage and if they see a tornado and here we teach them how to better do that."

      "I am very happy with the turnout tonight I was expecting about 50 people and we have a packed house here tonight. Part of my job is to make sure that Pike County residents are prepared for emergencies and this helps me to do that," Pike County Emergency Manager David Greenwood said.

      Several in attendance said that the increase in severe weather here in the Midwest is what encouraged them to attend and become better aware of the conditions around them and their families.

      For dates and times of the NWS Storm Spotter Classes in your community click here.