TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Students from Purdue's Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences department are preparing to go face-to-face with severe storms.
They're part of a special field study course that's taking them out west. They'll be heading towards Tornado Alley for part of Purdue's Severe Storms Field Work course.
"They want to go out and actually see a tornado, experience that for themselves and we're trying to give them an opportunity to not only do that safely but also to participate in some real field research,” said EAPS Associate Professor Robin Tanamachi.
The course gives students like Allison Lafleur the opportunity to apply classroom materials in the real world.
"You always hear about hands on learning makes things easier. But when you actually see what's going or you have to actually make decisions about what you think the storms are going to do, it gives you just that extra step of applying that knowledge you've learned,” said Lafleur.
Students were able to practice deploying the latest in radar technology while in the field.
“We're not just out there to get, you know, fun pictures. We're actually doing work and trying to understand these storms and be able to predict them better,” said Lafleur.
The radar is owned by Raytheon and the University of Massachusetts, but a partnership allows for Purdue students to use the technology.
"It's able to send out both horizontally and vertically polarized pulses which tells us about the shape of the drops that are falling. That's important for processes like evaporation,” said Tanamachi.
The radar will give students data four to five times faster than a conventional spinning radar. They will then be able to bring the recorded data back for analysis.
The class is scheduled to head out on Saturday. The field study will last one week.