Less than a year ago, several severe and damaging storms rolled into Young County bringing baseball-sized hail. 

The storms gradually produced circulation and wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, and eventually spawned funnel clouds and tornadoes. The list of damage included the Eliasville home of Davy and Gina Donnell, the couple who own and operate the nearly century-old Boaz Department Store on Elm Street.

The sheriff's department, Graham Fire Rescue and Graham/Young County EMS responded to numerous phone calls and awaited updates from the National Weather Service, who received their information from local spotters who watched weather patterns and reported as they went. 

Thanks to the updates, local emergency personnel were able to track the storm and assist residents as it progressed. 

It's for these reasons that storm education and weather spotters are invaluable to local communities and the National Weather Service. 

Severe weather is inevitable, especially in this region. To that end, the Graham/Young County Emergency Management and the Fort Worth National Weather Service will provide a free educational class to help the public recognize signs of approaching large hail, flash floods and tornados. The class is called the SKYeWARN severe weather program, and it takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 17, at North Central Texas College in Graham. 

“Once again, we have plenty of new material for the training session,” said Mark Fox, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Fort Worth National Weather Service Office.  “We will be showing the 2013 storms in detail, highlighting the subtle, yet important features. Additionally, we will discuss non-threatening clues which may be mistaken for significant features. Most importantly, we will discuss what you can do to keep you and others safe when thunderstorms threaten.” 

Jennifer Dunn, meteorologist at the Fort Worth National Weather Service office, said that the class itself focuses on severe weather and thunderstorms in particular.

 “During the class, they are going to talk about how (tornadoes) form, and the different types of thunderstorms threats associated with them, and things like hail and damaging winds,” she said. 

Participants will spend much of the workshop examining photos of clouds to identify key features that indicate a severe thunderstorm.

Read more in Sunday's Graham Leader.