Getting a Firsthand Look at Storm Chasing

The Doppler on Wheels travels all over the country collecting data and chasing tornadoes and other large storms

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY -- The Doppler on Wheels travels all over the country collecting data and chasing tornadoes and other large storms. For the last two weeks, the DOW-7 has been calling State College home, giving people all around the area an inside look at the equipment used for storm chasing.

"Getting these high resolution views on what's going on inside is extremely important for advancing the science so we can improve the forecast," says Traeger Meyer, the technician who drives the DOW for the Center for Severe Weather Research.

The Doppler on Wheels visit to State College, PA

The Doppler on Wheels visits State College, PA

Improving the forecast means increasing safety for the community during storm warnings.

It takes hands-on experiences and training for young meteorologists to to learn how to calculate data and with the DOW-7 in town, that's exactly what Penn State students got by taking the Doppler out into a field during a thunder storm.

"It was an opportunity to do our own thing and put some knowledge to use and to get our own data and results out of it," says Brian Adams, a senior meteorology student at Penn State.  "It was a really awesome experience."

"The were really able to go in there and completely operate the radar however they want," says Yvette Richardson, an associate meteorology professor at Penn State.  "They're in complete control.  They have to make decisions in real time and really think about the thing that they're looking at."

Having the DOW around is a rare opportunity. The last time it visited State College was in 2003.

Students working with the instrument say it sparked a lot of interest from people all around the community.

"Everyone needs to know something about the weather," says Alicia Klees, a PhD candidate in meteorology.

The DOW's technician says the Center for Severe Weather Research will use the information collected in State College for their studies so it was a mutually beneficial trip.

10/10/2014 Ali Ingersoll -

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