BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - It started ten years ago and Dr. Josh Durkee never thought it would blow up. We're talking about Western Kentucky University's Field Methods in Weather Analysis and Forecasting course, also called the Storm Chase class.
“I just thought I would create it and it would unfold in a natural way,” said Dr. Durkee, WKU University Meteorologist, director of White Squirrel Weather and Associate Professor of Meteorology in WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology. “I love storms. I just thought that students would follow along.”
Saturday, May 18 eight Hilltoppers will leave campus for a two-week tour across the Great Plains to forecast, analyze, document and study severe weather. Dr. Durkee says students learn theories in the classroom and conduct semester-long research projects on on past weather events, but the storm chase class combines theory and research and lets them put it into action in real world situations.
In the last decade, students have traveled 65,042 miles across multiple states, which according to WKU, is approximately like driving around the equator 2.5 times. When this trip ends, the total miles will be close to three trips around the world.
Since this is the 10th anniversary of of the course, one of the students going on the journey, will document the storm chase class as part of a project for WKU PBS. The students will be on the road May 1-June1. You can follow them on Twitter or on the WKU Meteorology Blog.