Texas A&M Meteorology students assist the National Weather Service in forecasting severe weather

Texas A&M students launch weather balloons to assist National Weather Service
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 6:47 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Central Texas is known for having a large “gap” in both radar and weather observation coverage, meaning that meteorologists in the region are often missing crucial data for forecasting. The Texas A&M Department of Atmospheric Sciences assisted in filling that observation “gap” on Friday, November 4th by launching two different weather balloons.

Cameron Batiste, a Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in the Houston Area and an Aggie Meteorology graduate, stated that the work done by professors and students is “a very big help for us in our forecasting process.”

Batiste continued to say that meteorologists across the country use this forecasting data. “We’re able to fill in that gap and see what the environment is like,” he added.

The Weather Observation and Analysis class (ATMO 251) is a required course for all students majoring in meteorology at Texas A&M. This year, it was taught by Dr. Erik Nielsen, a graduate of the same program. Each year, students are taught how to launch a weather balloon during the laboratory section of the class. Dr. Nielsen told us that the importance of this weather balloon launch exercise is twofold.

Students not only provided vital information to meteorologists across the country, but they also viewed the concepts they had learned in class applied to real-time forecasting. The collaborative process between Texas A&M and the National Weather Service both protected the people of today, but also built up new meteorologists to protect those of tomorrow.

The National Weather Service is also appreciative of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences for their use of the Aggie Doppler Radar during severe weather. Cameron Batiste added that a good example of A&M providing invaluable help was during the March 21st severe weather event in the Brazos Valley.

There were seven tornadoes across the Brazos Valley during the March 21st storm this year. The work that Texas A&M students and professors did that day prepared both National Weather Service Meteorologists and the Pinpoint Weather team here at KBTX.