Lessons Learned

Figure 10. Local severe weather interest blog advertising our community outreach event.

As has been experienced previously with UIDOW, we discovered that having enough activities to keep students engaged on clear air days is a challenge. Although making sure the students take the reins and get the experience of setting up and operating the radar themselves is important overall, this is even more so critical on clear air days.

In general, although our undergraduate students are typically drawn to our program out of an interest in severe weather, we need to make sure to stress more clearly that all weather data collection is important, and not just  the  "exciting"  part.  An  introduction  to some  of  the  tedium  that  is  data  collection better introduces them for the challenges of doing this in the future. Having the support of the operator to help make the student experience on "boring" days as engaging (or as close to as can be managed) as those with precipitation will be very helpful on future deployments. In particular, having students do manual solar calibration and other activities can be very educational.

We got a first taste of coordinating with other colleges and universities in the area for educational and data collection opportunities with the DOW, and this is something we will explore more in future deployments.

Finally, we learned the hard way that corn fields, even ones presumed frozen, are not good for DOW hydraulic feet.

Figure 11 a & b. Professor Hence, various students, and a representative from the American Red Cross interacting with members of the public.