From days of long ago to the present and beyond to the
future - there has been and will be a need for the volunteer.
The volunteer is only as effective as the support surrounding
that person or group of persons.
As the President of MidWest SSTRC, Inc. (Midwest) my personal
interest of severe storm involvement traces back to 1967 and
continued to 1983 when I committed my company of National
Fire & Safety, Ltd. to volunteer people and resources for
the purpose of early severe storm warnings. The relaying of
accurate and up to the minute information is an integral and
essential ingredient to this focus. This is now what is
referred to as providing ground truth. MidWest is a
noncommercial, non-profit organization of volunteers, whose
goal is to help to develop the best possible severe weather
warning system in the area. We have come a long way of having
to stop and use pay phones, to using the first cellular
phones to now having use of our own FM radio frequency and
sharing the air waves with the Amateur Radio Networks.
Those reports include, yet are not limited to; the
occurrence of tornadoes, funnel clouds, large hail, damaging
straight-line winds, flash floods, etc. The reporting is done
both in real time and after-the-fact, in providing what is
referred to as "ground truth" for severe weather events and
weather phenomena. Post event evaluations are also an
important function of MidWest.
From 1983 to the present, while working with committed
severe storm groups and individuals we have seen a need and
direction to become even more committed, to become
professional in our efforts and involvement that focus's on
Severe Storm Tracking and Response
The concept of the MidWest Severe Storm Tracking/Response
Center was born out of this direction. Over two years of
discussions and planning had laid the groundwork for this
non-profit organization. In essence MidWest has been in
existence since 1983.
Our purpose and existence is to the point. A
professional and knowing means of assisting in the early
warning of severe storms, the proper response and the
professional, accurate means of relaying storm
information…that those efforts assist in protecting life and
Our future goals are many and include the response to
severe storms and how we as an organization will be able to
lend assistance to those who request. We are pleased to
announce that MidWest is a member of the National
Association for Search and Rescue as a first step of meeting
these goals that we have set.
MidWest continues to offer assistance to local
severe storm spotter groups, the National Weather Service and
other organizations with field information as we commit
numerous personnel and resources to this effort at any given
time - in Dane County and surrounding areas. Individual
lifestyle schedules continue to be problematic in training
schedules with local spotter groups and also for obtaining
additional needed volunteers and we welcome all those who
have an interest in joining MidWest on any level.
MidWest has committed personnel to attend various
conferences and training over the years and will continue to
do so as they become available.
What we do is not a sport; nor is it to be taken
lightly. Although there are lighter moments in what we do,
the situation can and does become a serious matter to be
dealt with professionally and expeditiously. Often times vary
little happens. But when things start to happen, one must be
trained and prepared to serve the community in the best means
possible. So if this is something that interests you, come on
board, we'd love to have ya. Remember, be safe, be
knowledgeable, and be prepared.
Dale L. Bernstein
MidWest SSTRC, Inc.