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WAGM’s Ted Shapiro to offer Thunderstorm Safety/Spotter Workshop at UMPI

Friday, 10 May 2013

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The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host a Thunderstorm Safety/Spotter Workshop with WAGM Meteorologist Ted Shapiro on Tuesday, May 21 from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. in Folsom Hall Room 105. Campus and community members of all ages are invited to attend this free event.

"This workshop will serve as an excellent primer for campus and community members as we enter the thunderstorm season here in Northern Maine and Western New Brunswick," Shapiro said. "I'll be sharing some important weather-watching skills everyone should know to help them identify impending thunderstorms so they can properly prepare for them. I'll also teach folks about clues they can look for in the morning, hours before thunderstorms have even developed!"

While Northern Maine experiences severe thunderstorms every year, even non-severe thunderstorms can be deadly, so it is critical to know the signs that a storm may be brewing, Shapiro explained.

Severe weather can strike unexpectedly and cause fatalities along with serious damage to property. According to U.S. Natural Hazard Statistics compiled by the Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services and the National Climatic Data Center, lightning accounted for about 26 weather fatalities in 2011 (the 30-year average is 54). While many people think that lightning causes the greatest loss of life in thunderstorms, it is actually flash flooding during these storms that causes the most fatalities, and, to illustrate that point, Shapiro will show some incredible video of a rapid road washout.

"This is a great, informative event for people of all ages—we all need to be prepared for severe weather. I would love to see parents and teachers bring their school-age kids to this workshop to learn about thunderstorm safety," Shapiro said. "My motto is: Be prepared for thunderstorms this summer... know the signs ahead of time!"

Ted Shapiro was born and raised near Washington, D.C. He has served as Chief Meteorologist at WAGM-TV in Presque Isle since 2006. He also teaches a field course in weather observation at UMPI.

This workshop is part of the University of Maine at Presque Isle's StormReady efforts. In 2007, UMPI received a federal designation as a National Weather Service StormReady University, making it the second campus in New England, after Harvard University, and the 21st campus in the nation to receive this designation. Established in 1999, StormReady helps arm communities with the planning, communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during storm events. Program "communities" can include cities, towns, universities, Indian Nations, and government and private entities. Among the requirements that must be met to maintain a StormReady designation is promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars.

For more information about this free event, please contact UMPI's Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452.