New TTU research grant looks to improve severe weather prediction, observation

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 3:35 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Tech’s Atmospheric Science program will team up with four other universities in the United States to look into severe weather research.

The grant includes the University of Oklahoma, Penn State, Howard University and the State University of New York at Albany. Texas Tech’s researchers will be looking into the impact of severe weather and finding better ways to track it.

Researchers like Christopher Weiss, a professor of atmospheric science at Texas Tech, will also be working to find ways to better predict severe weather. Weiss and his team will also look into its impacts on people and property.

“A big topic right now is understanding how to improve forecasts with observations,” Weiss said.

The research cooperative was awarded for $200 million by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to be split among all five universities.

Weiss will be working with colleagues to figure out why some storms spawn tornadoes, work out ways to predict severe storms, and study the impact severe weather has on people and buildings.

They will also work on improvements to warning systems, so people will not take those as false alarms.

“When people stop heeding the call to action, taking the proper precautions,” Weiss said. “Just because there are a lot of warnings that don’t verify in their eyes.”

The researchers will even study instances like the Tornado Warning issued in Lubbock on May 17.

Because this is a recently announced grant, a lot of paperwork is being done right now. More intense planning will start in the fall and local researchers will be out in the field by the spring.

“This is going to allow us to really dedicate our research focus on severe weather.”

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