WYTHEVILLE, Va. – More than two-dozen Wythe County residents, including first responders, local officials, truck drivers and teachers came out last night for the county hosted severe weather course. The two-hour class, which was provided at no charge to the general public, was held at the Wytheville Community College.

National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Hysell taught the course, focusing primarily on the formation of thunderstorms, tornados, derechos and winter storms.

“In this part of the country, there’s sometimes a mentality that if there is no tornado warning, there is no danger,” stated Hysell, as he shared with the class statistics which proved non-tornado storms are often just as deadly.

Students who attended the National Weather Service sanctioned event were given a weather spotter’s field guide and awarded a certificate acknowledging their completion of the course; making them National Weather Service certified SKYWARN spotters.

“In recent years, severe weather has become a greater concern for communities throughout the nation. By offering this course to the public, we’re hoping to give people the knowledge they need to remain proactive in staying safe,” said Ikey Davidson, Wythe County’s emergency manager.

In January 2011, Wythe County became one of only a handful of Virginia counties to be certified by the National Weather Service as a StormReady Community. Last night’s class was the final step in the county’s re-certification effort.

Pleased with the event’s turnout, meteorologist Hysell urged those in attendance “if you see severe weather, report it – it could save a life.”

Residents unable to attend last night’s severe weather training seminar are encouraged to take the online version of the course.

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