Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dantaun's Last Day of SWIFT

Out of the many memorable experiences on SWIFT, I would have to say the highlight of SWIFT for me was getting an extremely close view of the 11 May wedge tornado in southeastern Nebraska. I had never experienced a thunderstorm of that strength or winds like that before. I had seen TV shows about the danger and destruction severe thunderstorms and tornadoes can bring, and finally seeing that first-hand gave me a new perspective on it. The adrenaline rush that it brought too was an experience in itself. In addition, getting a chance to see a new part of the country that was so different from New Jersey was interesting. 

After the two weeks of SWIFT, I have learned not only a plethora of new meteorology terms, but also how to apply them. I’ve also learned how to recognize points of interest on weather radar and what to look for when analyzing different weather models. I’ve also learned a lot about the structure of a thunderstorm. A lot of parts of a thunderstorm that used to look threatening to me I have found out are actually harmless. Lastly I now know a lot more about what is needed exactly for a thunderstorm to form and what conditions make that favorable. Before SWIFT I didn’t really know much about thunderstorms besides the fact that lightning and thunder came from them.  During SWIFT we were about to track and follow thunderstorms before they were even formed, which was awesome.

As a team leader, I have learned how to distribute the workload efficiently. I have also learned what it is like to have the fate of the “mission” rest on my decisions (i.e. choosing a target area). Also, after experiencing the quick switch from laughter to storm mode in the van, I have learned about both knowing when to be in serious mode and how to switch from a relaxed atmosphere to a more serious one at the drop of a hat.

-Dantaun "Bear Cage" Bernstein

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