Two training sessions are being held in Oro Valley for people interested in serving as volunteer weather spotters for the National Weather Service.

Both are set for Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La CaƱada Drive. The first is Monday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m., the second Saturday, June 12, at 2 p.m.

The National Weather Service provides weather forecasts and information intended to help users to protect life and property. It does so in part by issuing watches, warnings and advisories, to include flash flood warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings.

"What we call 'ground truth' is vital," the service said in its release. "Ground truth is actual reports of severe weather phoned into our office as severe weather is unfolding. Such reports include heavy rain, hail, significantly reduced visibility due to blowing dust, closed roads due to flash flooding, or the rare funnel cloud."

Most reports come to the Weather Service from its Skywarn weather spotters.

The free training sessions last just over an hour. Participants learn to identify severe weather and what to report. They are provided a plastic rain gauge to record significant rainfall episodes, as well as a variety of informative weather brochures.

Training is voluntary and at no cost to the spotter. All ages are welcome, though the agency suggests a parent supervise adolescents who have interest in weather.

Training sessions cover all of Eastern Pima County and southeastern portions of Pinal County including, but not limited to Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Catalina, Oracle, Mammoth, San Manuel, Dudleyville, Winkelman, Hayden, Kearny, Green Valley, Sahuarita and Vail.

Registration is not required. People with questions may call Ken Drozd or Greg Mollere at 520-670-5156.

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