Students, who are from the Fort Wayne area, and are interested in studying severe weather do not need to travel far. The geography department at Ball State offers a full meteorology and climatology degree, but it’s the experiences outside of the classroom that students remember most.
Each summer a group of students, along with a few professors put their severe weather forecasting to the test by traversing thousands of miles in the battle ground of severe weather in the united states. From Indiana to Montana, to Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, students set out to forecast and study mother nature’s magnificent thunderstorms.
“The Ball State Storm Chase class is a very unique and special opportunity for students to go out and try their hand at forecasting severe weather and then go out and see how those forecasts actually pan out. You forecast that something’s going to happen, then you can go out and watch those forecasts actually taking place,” said Nathan Hitchens Ph.D.
Ball state has another program for students who want to forecast severe weather for real people. The recent creation of the “Cardinal Weather Service” allows students to forecast for real clients around the area.
LINKS TO NORTHERN INDIANA METEOROLOGY PROGRAMS
“It’s one thing to just forecast, but it’s a whole other deal when you attach a human element to it, especially in regards to severe weather forecasting and awareness, and communicate to those people that hey, there is severe weather incoming, there’s severe weather expected and it really makes the forecaster aware of the implications of their forecast,” said Nathan Gidley.
Students work together to create daily forecasts for clients including Ball State Athletics, the Cardinal Greenways Bike Trail, and Delaware County Futbol Club. When severe weather strikes, they are actively updating their clients to help make sure that people using the client services are kept safe. It’s opportunities like these that are enhancing the students forecasting and understanding of severe weather events, while in college.
Northern Indiana is a great spot for meteorology schools, with three top tier programs including Ball State, Purdue, and Valparaiso which each have their own unique strengths when it comes to severe weather forecasting.
“Students in the Fort Wayne viewing area have so many options to learn about this. If this is your passion, you’ve got places to learn about this. Its probably one of the most incredible concentrations of opportunities in this part of the country,” said Petra Zimmermann, Ph.D.