Wandering Wisconsin: Local storm spotters help save lives
WAUSAU (WAOW) -- When 15 tornadoes struck Wisconsin during the April 10th outbreak most people were running away from them.
But a brave group of volunteers was doing just the opposite to help save lives.
Storm spotters are an important part in severe weather warning, and the Merrill Amateur Radio Group or MARG for short, played a tremendous role in relaying vital information by radio to StormTrak 9 and the National Weather Service office in Green Bay.
"When communications go down like cell phones ... that's where we come into play" MARG President Keith Stoney told Newsline 9.
Using a technology-laced trailer, MARG's group of volunteers use their interest in ham radios and weather to keep the community safe. Sending information that weather radar systems can't always pick up, it was a MARG volunteer who was able to confirm to the National Weather Service that the EF3 tornado in Merrill had in fact touched down.
"The Weather Service office is in Green Bay so they have a hard time seeing what's on the ground, their radar can only reach so far" said Emergency Coordinator and volunteer storm spotter Michael Martens. "What we do is provide verification or ground truth for them."
Relaying by radio their visual confirmation of storm events, MARG volunteers are able to work around the crisis and get the information to where it needs to go so people can be warned of what's coming.