By BRAD KELLAR
Meteorologists and local storm spotters are preparing for the potential of severe thunderstorms crossing Hunt County and North Texas in the spring.
The National Weather Service has scheduled the 2013 Skywarn storm spotter training program for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Fletcher Warren Civic Center, 5501 Highway 69 South 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 program will 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 and the surrounding area suffered damage from powerful straight-line winds in December.
Thunderstorms which blew through the region on the night of December 19, followed by a windstorm early on the morning of December 20, knocked down the City of Greenville Christmas tree, a 30-foot Balsam Fir which stood in front of the Police and Courts Building at 3000 Lee Street downtown.
The most extensive damage reported was focused on Van Zandt and Collin counties. Three homes, two barns, a gas station and a tire store were reported damaged by high winds in Edgewood.
Roofs were said to have been blown off of houses in Copeville in Collin County, with one house reported to have ended up on top of a vehicle. Also in Collin County, a barn roof was blown off and sent into the living room of a house in Nevada.
A highway sign along eastbound Interstate 30 in Greenville was reported twisted by the winds and a carport was blown into a house near Caddo Mills.
The highest wind gust reported at Majors Field Municipal Airport in Greenville during the storm was 43 mph. Hopkins County recorded a 62 mph gust and the City of Kaufman recorded 68 mph.