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WKU storm chasers prepare for annual forecast adventure across Great Plains

During WKU’s May 2012 summer term, eight meteorology students in Dr. Josh Durkee’s annual Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting course will set out to forecast, analyze and document severe convective storms across the Great Plains.

During his 2011 course, WKU's Josh Durkee captured this image of a severe storm moments before a tornado developed and headed toward Joplin, Mo. Eight meteorology students will be participating in this year's course from May 17-31.

This will be the third year of this course offering at WKU, which won the 2010 “Creativity and Innovation Award” from the North American Association for Summer Programs.

During the 2010 and 2011 trips, WKU groups successfully documented nearly 20 tornadoes, numerous damaging hail and wind events, and multiple flash floods. This year, from May 17 to May 31, the group plans to drive 7,000 to 8,000 miles across multiple state lines to continue that success, Dr. Durkee said.

“This capstone meteorology course has been quite a large success,” he said. “Perhaps the success can be measured by great forecasting and travel decisions that get us to the storms on time. However, the majority of students come home from this trip stating that they have learned more in this one class then they have since they started college, and that is my overarching goal for this class.”

Students participating in the 2012 course are: Kyle Berry of Mount Washington; Tami Gray of Cleveland, Miss.; Kyle Mattingly of Owensboro; Becca Ollier of Cincinnati; Chandler Santos of LaGrange; Nathaniel Shearer of Berea; Evan Webb of Hodgenville; Emily Yates of Brentwood, Tenn.

You can follow Dr. Durkee’s storm chase group as they document each day at http://meteorology.blog.wku.edu/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/wkustormchase and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wkumetclimsci

Contact: Josh Durkee, (270) 745-8777.

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