Students end the semester with hands-on training

University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology students wrapped up their semester course putting their skills to the test with hands-on training.

The “Applications of meteorological theory to severe thunderstorm forecasting” course partook in training normally provided to NOAA National Weather Service forecasters by the NWS Warning Decision Training Division.

“The students are bridging the gap between theory and forecasting thanks to this opportunity provided by NWS WDTD,” said Matthew Flournoy, OU SoM course instructor. “This is the culmination of a whole semester’s work -having students apply theory to issue warnings.”

OU SoM students issued warnings based on a past tornado and severe thunderstorm event near Dallas.

University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies Research Associate Eric Jacobsen called the training, “the icing on the cake for the end of the semester.”


University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies Research Associate Eric Jacobsen works with an OU School of Meteorology student during training.

Jacobsen, who works within the NWS WDTD, took the “applications of meteorological theory” course at OU when it was first offered five years ago.

“The course helped me learn how meteorological theories relate to applications, like issuing warnings, and this takes it a step further with hands-on experience,” Jacobsen said. “This is a great example how SoM, the NWS and CIMMS collaborate on opportunities for students and sharing our expertise.”

Flournoy said students have reviewed case studies in the past but for the first time they are able to apply their semester’s work with quasi-real time, one-on-one training with NWS trainers.

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 receive hands-on practice before heading back to their home offices to issue real warnings.

University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology students receive hands-on training from researchers in the NWS Warning Decision Training Division.