Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ian Lowry Final Blog Post

Well, the time finally came, we are on the road back to Annapolis! What a crazy two weeks. Not only did we see two tornado's, but we met some incredible people and had some experiences that I know I will never forget. From the official STEM visits to riding in a firetruck at Captain Burnett's house, each day brought something new and exciting. Perhaps what I will remember most about SWIFT is the importance of teamwork. Riding in a van with 12 people, each with differing opinions, creates an interesting group dynamic when it comes to making decisions. Whether it be what hotel to book, what exit to get off at or even what to eat for lunch. We all realized quickly that in order for SWIFT to be a success we needed to work together and compromise for the sake of the group. Overall, we came together very well and were a well-oiled-machine by the end.


Apart from the logistical aspect of SWIFT, the storm chasing itself was both exciting and challenging. Each morning, we would pick a target area and "roll the dice" and hope that our storm would be there. It usually was, but the difficulty was not finding the storms. Rather, the difficulty was finding the storms that had all of the extremely specific parameters to produce tornado's. If one factor is out of line, tornado formation is then impossible.


The trip started with us all bursting at the seams to look at a tornado, and it ended that way--with one caveat. Near the end of the trip, a devastating tornado ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, killing scores of people. The SWIFT team was only 25 miles from the scene and watched on radar as the monster F-4 tornado leveled the neighborhood. It was difficult for the SWIFT team to hear about this, but as we learn to be better forecasters hopefully one day we will develop new systems and warnings to help minimize loss of life from a tornado in the future. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the storm.


Until next time, this is Ian Lowry signing out. Thanks for keeping it real SWIFT.

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