Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Savannah Stafford - the Last Post.

On the road again, on the road again. Yesterday, we reached 5000 miles of driving, and we keep driving on. I can't believe that the internship is almost over and we are headed back to Annapolis. I have had so much fun and learned an incredible amount! Among seeing two tornadoes (that thankfully only took out a few trees), visiting several weather facilities, and chasing for eight days total, the team definitely bonded. We all got along really well; it was a diverse group of people that definitely meshed well! SWIFT challenged my leadership and started to build my real-time weather experiences. When people say that experience is the best learning tool, I can attest that it truly is. What I have learned and gained from SWIFT could not have been taught in a classroom or in a movie and I have definitely grown through this internship.

The first few days of the trip were difficult to get the hang of, but once we did, both the weather and logistic teams crushed.  My favorite part of chasing was the feeling I had when we hit our target pretty spot on. It was rewarding to know that we took our weather and logistic knowledge and found a storm by working together. We observed a lot of really amazing storms on this trip! My favorite storm was probably our very first; we did not expect any hail at all, and then it happened. We core punched it. I definitely have a greater appreciation for the power and unpredictability of storms. Even when we made a forecast, the storms we were chasing somehow surprised us. My understanding of the destruction of tornadoes has increased tremendously; seeing the photos from all of the deadly tornadoes on this trip and driving through Joplin struck my heart.

Another fun part was using the maps for navigation. On the chase, we had to read state maps and try our hardest not to break Rasmussen's rule about not driving on dirt roads (we broke that rule a few times.......). Driving those back roads made the state more incredible and beautiful. I definitely embraced the Wild West while on this trip!

Now as we head back, we prepare for our Annapolis arrival. A movie or two will be made, some jokes said, and there will be a lot more laughing with the team before we split up for different summer training. I want to personally thank every person that gave us a tour, fed us, and cheered us on. It's been real, it's been fun!

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