By BRAD KELLAR
While it is definitely winter outside, meteorologists and storm spotters are already looking ahead to the potential for severe thunderstorms crossing the region in the spring.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is kicking off the 2013 “Severe Weather Awareness Tour” across North Texas on Monday, Jan. 7.
The tour is expected to include meetings between meteorologists and emergency management officials and the media, as well as SKYWARN storm spotter training programs.
SKYWARN is scheduled in Greenville for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at the Fletcher Warren Civic Center, 5501 Highway 69 South.
The purpose of the program is to help train spotters, the first line of defense in identifying the approach of a severe thunderstorm. The seminar is free, and anyone interested in learning more about how severe weather forms is invited to attend. The programs discuss the formation and behavior of storms, the production of severe weather, environmental clues which can suggest the possibility of a tornado or other severe weather, spotter reporting procedures, and safety tips.
Hunt County and the surrounding area experienced a tornado outbreak in April.
At least one confirmed tornado hit Hunt County during the height of the severe weather on April 3, with multiple homes destroyed in the Union Valley area.
Investigators with the National Weather Service joined emergency management officials from both Hunt and Rockwall counties to assess the damage.
Five homes in the Union Valley area were completely destroyed by the tornado which passed along and either side of the Hunt/Rockwall county line, which was rated as a low EF-2, containing wind speeds between 110 and 135 miles per hour. Nine more homes sustained damage.
All of the homes damaged or destroyed in Hunt County were along the north side of State Highway 276.
Damage was also reported in various locations across the rest of Hunt County as a result of the storms, which produced four tornado warnings.
The National Weather Service estimated 13 tornadoes touched down across North Texas on April 3.
Tornadoes were also reported over Campbell, 10 miles west of Quinlan, four miles north of Lone Oak, three miles southeast of Royse City and five miles south-southeast of Royse City.
An 80 mile per hour wind gust was reported two miles south of Greenville and large hail was reported to have fallen in Greenville and Quinlan.