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Doppler on Wheels Brings Weather Technology to Campus

Students, Public to Learn About
Storm Chasing, Weather Forecasting

MELBOURNE, FLA. — A National Science Foundation grant awarded to Florida Institute of Technology meteorology professor Steven Lazarus has won the university two weeks with a unique teaching aid: a Doppler on Wheels.

Through Sept. 11, Florida Tech students have the opportunity to chase lightning storms and fronts using the powerful mobile weather tool. Each day, students will develop a Doppler on Wheels, or DOW, deployment strategy based on the weather of the day. They will get weather information in part from daily meetings with National Weather Service forecasters in Melbourne. Students will then plan, design and implement radar scan strategies for various phenomena such as the sea/lake/lagoon breezes, thunderstorms and coastal showers.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students,” Lazarus said.

The truck and its technician arrived Monday after a 2,000-mile trek from Boulder, Colorado, where they are based at the Center for Severe Weather Research.

The public is invited to get in on the excitement of having DOW on campus with two exciting events:

  • Doppler on Wheels – The Biggest Dish on the Road: 3:30-4:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, Evans Library Pavilion, Auditorium Room P133. This free lecture in the Weekly Seminar Series of the Department of Marine & Environmental Systems presents Joshua Wurman and Karen Kosiba from the Center of Severe Weather Research. (Discovery Channel fans may recognize Wurman from his recurring role on the reality series Storm Chasers.) The atmospheric scientists will talk about their adrenalin-charged experiences chasing super cells, tornadoes and other intense weather with a Doppler on Wheels.
  • Doppler on Wheels Open House: 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 9, Olin Physical Sciences parking lot, across from Panther Dining Hall. The DOW radar will be open to the campus and general community during this free event. A technician will be there to answer questions about the vehicle, its equipment and weather data gathered during a storm chase.

Maps and directions are available by visiting http://cos.fit.edu/pss/aapls.php/ and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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