Hey everyone! My experience with SWIFT was much more incredible than expected. I learned more about forecasting, initiation of storms, and chasing storms than I had ever anticipated. My repertoire of meteorological words has increased exponentially (and so has my photo album of gorgeous sunsets and picturesque clouds). Material that I had learned in my Basic Atmospheric Processes class was certainly re-learned and solidified throughout SWIFT. I learned all about CAPE, bulk shear, helicity, composite reflectivity, squall lines, fronts, and how these all affect the initiation of thunderstorms and tornadoes. The weather briefs that once seemed a daunting chore at the beginning of SWIFT, became a speedy and fun task by the end.
Each day of SWIFT had a different person leading both the logistics team and the weather team. When I was the weather leader, I learned the difficulties of chasing storms first hand, helping to make decisions about where to go in order to stay ahead of the storm.When I was the logistics leader, I learned all about the importance of delegating tasks effectively, remaining patient, and staying flexible when nearly all plans fall through and you end up eating dinner at a Sonic at 10:00 pm. I learned that when situations don’t go as planned (or tornadoes don’t go as forecasted) the best remedy is optimism. Optimism keeps morale and camaraderie high. The combination of optimism and flexibility cannot be understated.
Before this trip, I was interested in going METOC SWO, but now I can say that I feel passionate about going METOC SWO. SWIFT was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to any Oceanography major even remotely interested in meteorology.