Students participate in forecaster training

OU Oklahoma Weather Lab students participate in the NWS Warning Decision Training Division training, getting a feel for issuing warnings and watches.

University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies researchers supporting work at the National Weather Service Warning Decision Training Division hosted a different type of training one Thursday in April.

Instead of NWS forecasters flocking to the fourth floor training area at the National Weather Center, students took some time in the forecaster hot seat.

The OU Oklahoma Weather Lab – a student-run weather forecasting service – trained like forecasters. Students issued their own watches and warnings in a hands-on experience allowing them to identify severe weather threats while analyzing data.

Every spring NWS WDTD hosts rigorous week-long workshops as part of the Radar & Applications Course.

The purpose of this Radar & Applications Course is to train newly-hired NWS forecasters on all factors, including the stress, involved in issuing warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. At workshops hosted at the National Weather Center in Norman, forecasters received hands-on practice before heading back to their home offices to issue real warnings.

Before walking in the door, attendees must complete a difficult 120 hours of online training prepared by instructors.