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January 4, 2014

Spring thunderstorm season not far off

GREENVILLE — While the temperatures outside definitely feel like winter, meteorologists and storm spotters are aware the spring thunderstorm season is only a few weeks away.

The National Weather Service is kicking off the 2014 “Severe Weather Awareness Tour” across North Texas on Tuesday. The tour is expected to include meetings between meteorologists and emergency management officials and the media, as well as Skywarn storm spotter training programs.

The Skywarn program is scheduled in Hunt County at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Fletcher Warren Civic Center in Greenville.

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 had a brush with severe weather on May 21, 2013, as multiple thunderstorms brought damaging high winds and flooding rains.

Hunt County and most of northeast Texas was placed under a tornado watch that morning. As severe weather approached slowly from the west, area schools — likely keeping in mind the tragedy which resulted when a massive tornado hit Moore, Okla. the day before — started releasing their classes early.

Hunt County was placed under a severe thunderstorm warning during the afternoon. The storms carried winds in excess of 60 mph and small hail, but fortunately no tornadoes.

Power lines and tree limbs were blown down throughout the county and homes in the Royse City and Caddo Mills areas reported some roof and fence damage. Two barns along County Road 2630 were also damaged by the winds.

Several locations reported rains of more than two inches from the storms, which created some flooding issues. The Greenville Fire Department responded to a submerged vehicle in the area of Washington and Bois d’Arc streets.

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