Friday, May 31, 2013

Day #12 (Volunteer and non-chase day): May 31, 2013
Starting point: Norman, Oklahoma
Ending point: Lincoln, Nebraska
Mileage traveled: 496 (Trip total: 5782)

We started our day off by volunteering in the Moore, Oklahoma area. We spent 3 hours cleaning debris out of a home owners hay field right outside the densely populated area of Moore. The tornado initiated a short distance from the property we helped clean up. Despite being near the beginning of the tornado there was still a large amount of debris in the field. The hay was ready to be baled and so the debris needed to be cleaned up so that process could begin. After volunteering we drove by the National Weather Center which houses research facilities for the National Severe Storms Lab, The Storm Prediction Center, and the Norman, Oklahoma National Weather Service office. We also briefly visited the University of Oklahoma's campus.

We did get north of the city before the storms started. We choose not to chase because we needed to start back towards home and chasing in urban areas is extremely dangerous. Given the destruction that has been shown on media outlets we are glad we made this decision; yes it would have been interesting to watch these storms develop but given the traffic problems that occurred in and around the city we could have potentially placed ourselves in some extreme danger. Something we wanted to avoid. Overall, it has been a very successful trip with today being only the second non-chase day for us out of 12. We have seen a lot of storms of various types and did get to see a quick spin up of a tornado in Texas.

Over the next few weeks we will be compiling more information about the storms we witnessed on the trip. These will come in recaps of the storms where we will be able to show weather maps, radar imagery, etc. along with the photos we captured. This blog will also be part of the information source for our new student group on campus called the UWW WeatherHawks. Some of the activities we have planned are bringing in guest speakers to campus and visiting local schools to talk about weather and climate related topics. There has already been some discussion from today's events to try to plan some kind of relief effort for the Oklahoma City area. When plans are finalized we will pass them along.

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