BLACKSBURG, Va - Wednesday morning, students from Virginia Tech began their voyage to the Plains in search of severe weather. David Carroll tells us that Hokie Stormchase is a 3-credit field course in severe weather. In its current format, the course dates back to 2003.
This is first and foremost an educational experience, as students use tools to forecast supercell thunderstorms. They're especially trying to target those that produce tornadoes.
Carroll also says that they gather data from near the storm and collect measurements around tornadic storms. The ultimate goal is to make students better forecasters by seeing the storms firsthand.
This year's quiet severe weather season in the Plains proves to be a challenge, as they rely on smaller and more subtle features in the atmosphere. May, however, is traditionally the peak of tornado season.
Initially, the team (mainly comprised of sophomores) will head to Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. Carroll says that they will likely see Texas and Oklahoma at some point. A strip to the Dakotas and eastern Wyoming isn't ruled out either.
Below are some pictures sent to us that the team has captured in recent years.
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