The OU National Weather Center partied up a storm Saturday
Oklahoma weather-related organizations gathered to showcase new technology and research Saturday at OU’s National Weather Center.
The eighth annual National Weather Festival highlighted the research and new developments in technology of many weather-related organizations from Norman, OU and the surrounding area. These organizations converge at the festival to make themselves more known to the community.
About 3,000 to 4,000 people, mostly from Oklahoma and surrounding areas, attend the event each year, said Keli Pirtle, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman.
Many of these organizations focused their research on weather detection and radar technology, including OU’s Advanced Radar Research Center, the statewide Mesonet and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Radar Operations Center.
Mesonet.org is a free website that shows weather conditions and weather history at and around each of its 120 weather stations in the state of Oklahoma, Mesonet technician Phil Browder said. There is at least one station in each of Oklahoma’s 71 counties, allowing for very detailed analysis of local weather. It was created in partnership by OU and OSU and has many programs designed to use meteorological tools to educate and help the agricultural community, students and teachers in Oklahoma public schools as well as people in the emergency management field.
The Advanced Radar Research Center is a multidisciplinary research initiative composed of meteorology students, computer engineering students and civil engineering students that focuses on weather radar signal processing, meteorology doctorate student Fanxing Kong said.
Kong’s research focuses on minimizing the effects of interference from wind farms on radar and storm prediction, according to his research description. Wind farm interference often causes nonexistent tornados to be reported, damaging the reliability of the center’s predictions.
The Radar Operations Center is a subset of the National Weather Service, said Rich Murnan, one of the presenters for the center’s booth. The center’s most recent project was a Dual Polarization Radar that analyzes the shape of precipitation and debris in the air and allows meteorologists to understand more accurately what is falling where and in what quantities.
The festival also included a storm chaser car show, hourly weather balloon launches and a choreographed dance by the Weather Friends.
The Weather Friends is a group of students who dress up as weather-themed superheroes like Tempest and Swirl Girl to teach kids about severe weather and how to deal with it.