The eyes and ears of the National Weather Service is the Skywarn program. They are a group of volunteer storm spotters who are called upon in times of severe weather, to give the NWS the "ground truth" about what is really happening under the storm cells as they pass through the area.
If you are interested in helping protect your community in this way, there is a training class you need to know about. It's about 3 hours, free and informative. This years' training for Crawford County is being held on March 22, 6:30 pm at St. Bridget's Church in Meadville.