Professors head to the Plains to storm chase

COVID-19 has forced storm chasing trips for future meteorologists to be canceled. Lincoln Riddle has more on how a group of professors are in the field preparing for next spring.

Video Transcript

- In the field, that's where professor of meteorology, Scott Steiger, says, you learn best. Staiger is with SUNY Oswego in New York. Each spring, since 2007, he's led a team of students that traveled to the plains to storm chase.

SCOTT STEIGER: We bring about 15 students out with us each year. And they get experience in forecasting for weather, observing the weather, and comparing their forecasts to what they observe. And that's where the real learning occurs for our meteorology majors.

- Steiger says, this in field research is crucial for future meteorologists.

SCOTT STEIGER: Because of COVID, we weren't able to bring students out, last year, or this year. But luckily, this year, I have a team of other faculty, where we're vaccinated. So we can come out here, and at least, practice. So we're prepared for next year.

- Those colleagues include former student, Jake [? Mohollan, ?] and Ari Preston, a professor in the atmospheric science program in Northern Vermont University-Lyndon. In 2019, Preston and Steiger teamed up, bringing students from each University to the plains to storm chase. Preston says, while students observe the storms, they also collect data.

- Typically, we'll launch radio [? sons ?] attached to weather balloons, and that will help us get a vertical profile of the atmosphere. And then we also will typically have kestral instruments, so they can measure surface dew points and temperatures. And that's really important to give us a sense for what's occurring with observations and not just relying on the models.

- Steiger says, with vaccination rates rising and COVID-19 restrictions easing, he believes his students will be able to return to the plains next spring to storm chase. For AccuWeather, I'm Lincoln Riddle.