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Thursday, March 10

Stormy Weather (Sarah Vaughn)

Severe Weather Unit Resources

Waaaaaaay back in our very first post, we said that Oklahoma was a land of extremes.  It's very true...there are few places where you can experience all forms of natural disaster within a year, like we did in 2015.  So it makes perfect sense that home base for the National Weather Center is located in Norman, OK.
Our homeschool co-op scheduled a group tour on a relatively uneventful weather day...but that was perfect, because we could stay and ask as many questions as we wanted, without being in the way.  We saw the new Galileo's World exhibit, celebrating 125 years of the University of Oklahoma.  Included in the exhibit were Galileo's original texts and diagrams...very cool!
Then, our tour guide led us outside to the truck and equipment storage area.  We learned about each special vehicle and their latest research.  We got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens on a severe weather day, and how the various crews begin their jobs.
From the ninth floor, you can see for miles!  Especially on a beautiful, clear day like this one.  Also, since this is about midway through the tour, the bouncy seats in the aerial room and a lot of fun to play on and release some energy...
Back down in the forecasting center, we saw the room where all severe weather watches and warnings are issued for the United States (excepting AK and HI).  On a spring day, this place would be full of people, but today there were only two men working.  We learned the different desks' jobs, and why each separate piece of data is so important.
Finally, after a lengthy discussion about how storms and tornadoes are created, and the movie Twister, we headed back down to the lobby.  Down there, they have a large sphere that can be programmed for education.  Today, however, in honor of the new Star Wars movie, they were featuring the Death Star!  All in all, an informative, and fun, field trip!
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