FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Ball State University Associate Professor of Meteorology & Geography, Dr. Dave Call says, “A lot of this trip is really just learning how storms work and watching them grow and die, and there’s no substitution for being out in the field and seeing these things firsthand.”
A storm chasing team from Ball State University left back on May 10th, traveling around the plains wherever the storms fired up. They’ve seen a tornado in Nebraska and a rotating storm in Oklahoma, but Monday’s storm potential was as high as it has been the whole trip.
“We’re excited because there’s a great chance we might see a tornado, or large hail, or other aspects of severe storms, and they should be supercells, the largest and most dangerous storms out there,” says Dr. Call.
Dr. Call’s group was in Lubbock, Texas Monday morning, but as with all chasing trips, there’s a plan in place based on what the models and what the meteorologists think will happen.
“Our plan is to go southeast of here towards places like Snyder, Texas or maybe even as far as Abilene. We’re hoping there that there will be fewer storms, which will make it safer and easier to observe the weather associated with the storm,” says Dr. Call.
Parts of Oklahoma and Texas were under a High Risk on the Storm Prediction Center’s Convective Outlook, the highest on that scale. For the students, it’s a great opportunity.
Ball State Graduate Student, Heather Richards says, “You go through class, you learn all the indices, you learn what to look for on radar, but until we’re out in the field, we don’t get to see how to really apply it. I think this type of education makes you a better forecaster overall.”
And that’s what the goal of the class is about.
“The purpose of our class is to train future forecasters. So the students that go out on our trip are the ones that will be out on TV or for the Weather Service, warning and helping inform the public in the future. Our focus is really on learning on how the storms work and getting them the practice and experience they need for the future,” says Dr. Call.
Storms always pose a threat, especially in Monday’s environment through parts of the plains. A tornado going through an open field is perhaps the best thing to witness on a trip like this.
“In these things we do keep in mind that destruction of property could be something. It’s a hesitant excitement, we’ll put it that way,” says Richards.