National Weather Service’s Jim Kramper conducts Storm Spotter class

Posted on 14 March 2016 by admin

Sky Club hosts weather presentation for the public for the third consectutive year 

Art & Life Editor


On March 3, The Sky Club hosted a Storm Spotter Class, in the Meramec Theatre. The class is an informative presentation on how to properly spot different types of weather and also how to correctly inform the National Weather Service (NWS) on what is happening in a specific area.

The class is taught by Jim Kramper, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist of the National Weather Service. This specific class has been held on campus for the third year in a row according to the club’s sponsor, Professor Joe Schnieder. As for Kramper, he has been teaching the classes for much longer.

“It’s actually longer than 24 years; way back in 1990,” Kramper said.

Kramper is certified to teach this class due to his job title.

“It was the job I got, when I first was hired with the weather service I went up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, I was just an intern getting started learning, you gotta start at the bottom to learn,” Kramper said.

He started to do some work in Wyoming with some of the local schools which included some preparedness activities and safety information.

“I did it as a project; a winter drill for the entire state which had never been done before. So I started to get into it then,” Kramper said.

F r o m there, Kramper only succeeded further in his career.

“I moved up the ladder-there was an opening at an office in Little Rock, which was really more full time doing that kind of work. You still do some f o r e c a s t i n g but you spend a lot of your time doing safety stuff, training and start teaching spotters so I applied for it and I got it. So that’s when I really first started training outside people for severe storms,” Kramper said.

He then received another promotion to St. Louis, still doing the same type of work, only to an advanced program making it at a higher level. Kramer has his Bachelor of Science degree in metrology.

“That’s as far as I went. A lot of people now a days have a masters degree but a bachelors is all that is required,” Kramper said. “When I got out of school, I was done with school, I wanted to work and so luckily I got a job.”

Kramper’s career allows him time away from the standard office job.

“The job I have; I don’t sit in the office everyday, I’m out. I work with anything from the public to state and local government,” Kramper said.

For example, he is the main contact for the State of Missouri Government. He works with everybody from the governors office to the state emergency management agency department of public safety, Kramper said.

“I’m their contact, I go to a lot of their training sessions,” Kramper said.

Weather is part of everyday life for humans on Earth, so being informed is vital.

“If you have 30,000 people at an event, weather can be a problem, so we are getting into doing a lot of direct support for them [the government],” Kramper said.

The event presented by Kramper is free and open to the public. He goes in depth on how thunderstorms are produced, how to properly measure snowfall, how to tell the difference between a funnel cloud and an actual tornado and many more different aspects of weather.

The full presentation lasts from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and has an intermission. By completing this class, one will recieve a special card with a number on it. This number is what one would use to give to the NWS when calling in to report any type of weather.

The NWS does not have an app but one can access the weather through their website which is mobile compatible. On the iPhone, visit gov using Safari. Then choose “add to home screen” and tap “add.” This will add it to the home screen.

For Android users, visit using Google Chrome. Click the menu button and choose “add to homescreen.”

If all goes as planned, Kramper will return again next Spring to give the class, which he very thoroughly enjoys.

“A lot of people in the weather service say the job I have is the best job in the whole organization, so a lot of us who have the job agree,” Kramper said.


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