April General Meeting

April 10, 2018

A big thank you to all those who joined us at our final meeting of the semester!

At tonight’s meeting DeWain Mitchell From Weather Decision Technologies (WDT) was our guest speaker. DeWain Mitchell started his career at the National Severe Storms Laboratory before joining WDT in 2000. After introducing and telling us a little bit about himself, Mitchell began his presentation on forensic meteorology.

Forensic meteorology applies science to verify or deny different aspects of court cases, or a historical weather event and its effects.

“I’m a horrible forecaster… but I’m not looking at what will happen, I am looking at what has happened” he explained. You do not have to be a good forecaster to figure out what happened in the past.

What background do you need for forensic meteorology? Mitchell said in addition to the core meteorology classes, you also need to be familiar with radar, upper air and surface observations, satellite, lightning data, as well as be proficient in computing systems and experience in research, forecasting, and weather development techniques. Computer programming and experience with GIS is also very useful.  

“Computer programming will help you go a long way in your job” he added.

We have a lot of data available to us, such as the National Climatic Data Center, National Ocean service, NWS, SPC, Earth Networks, etc. From all of these we can get current and past weather information.

There is a lot of useful tools that can be used for forensic meteorology, such as the National Centers for Environmental Information, and GIS programs.

DeWain Mitchell’s final thoughts for those interested in forensic meteorology- read journal articles, conference pre-prints, and source books. Take online course trainings, such as COMET, WDTB, etc. Attend non-weather workshops such as fire investigations, insurance claims, structural engineering, etc. Stick with reliable data and keep accurate records. Additionally, own your mistakes and apply for student jobs.

Following the speaker presentation, elections were held for next year’s board members.

Congratulations to: Jordan Overton (President); Tyler Stanfield (Vice President); Jenna Warner (Secretary); Aspen Endriss (Treasurer); Nash Rhodes (Publicist); Sam Emmerson (Senior Representative); Max Unger (Junior Representative); Connor Bruce (Sophomore Representative).

Our webmaster and two freshman representatives will be elected at the end of our first Fall semester meeting!

April Officer Meeting

April 3rd, 2018

The speaker for the April general meeting is DeWain Mitchell from WDT will be talking about forensic meteorology next Tuesday. Updates and details on the meeting will be sent out later. We will have lots and lots of BBQ from Billy Sims so come hungry!

Elections for officer positions will be held at the end of the meeting. If you wish to be nominated for a position, you must contact Tabitha Kloss with the name and elected position you want someone to run for. I.e. President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and class representatives. All nominations must be sent by 5pm on Monday, April 9th.

The raffle will also be held during the next meeting for those who are eligible to see who gets their dues back.

March General Meeting

March 9th, 2018

This is the last week you can sign up for the Big Event which will take place on April 14th.


The April general meeting is April 10th, food and speaker is TBD.

OWL Game night is coming up on April 6th!

The School of Meteorology is looking for a new director and we need your opinion on the candidates we have! Information will be sent out about the candidates and there will be several meetings with them. Lunch will also be provided at one of the meetings. This is very important for us as students. This is the person who will lead us, the person who may teach freshman 1111 or senior year capstone so we want to hear your thoughts and input.

Dr. Jeff Basara was our guest speaker at this month’s general meeting. He is a professor and the associate director for the School of Meteorology. He also works with land and atmospheric interactions and studies things such as moisture flux, soil heat flux, albedo, radiation, boundary layer growth, etc.

Dr. Basara runs the CHEWe Research group- Climate, Hydrology, Ecosystems, Weather. See the link for more information http://hydrometeorology.oucreate.com/

In his opening statement, Dr. Basara talked about how everything above and below the surface is impacted by weather and because of this we have a connection to everything on this planet. This connection can be seen in our day to day lives just from simple conversations like “wonderful weather we’re having today!” or “It sure is cold outside!”

He noted that Oklahoma is interesting because there is only about a 1 degree average surface temperature difference. This differs greatly however with regards to average annual rainfall where parts of the panhandle receive less than a foot of rain while eastern Oklahoma averages 50+ inches annually. This unique climatological volatility in the plains region of the United States is quite unique compared to anywhere else globally and is a big reason why severe weather and tornadoes are much more prominent here.

Dr. Basara has also studied the impacts of droughts, and the mass migration of people due to the largest drought in the past 150 years, the Dust Bowl. These kinds of droughts effect populations globally and shape the way history unfolds ultimately. He also mentioned that droughts can alter severe weather patterns and that the drought we have been experiencing is likely to dramatically affect severe weather season by forcing the dryline to set up more to the east.

Some words of advice Dr. Basara had was to know where meteorology comes from. Look deeper into the history of meteorology and who was responsible for making the field what it is today. If you don’t know what’s been done before you, we can never make progress and learn from the trials and failures of the past. 

March Officer Meeting

February 26th, 2018

Keep your eye on the GroupMe these next few weeks because we have a lot of exciting events coming up!

Career fair prep workshop is Wednesday, Feb 28 at 6PM. This is before the OWL meeting at 6:30. The actual career fair is Thursday, March 1st. We encourage all SoM students to attend the career fair as it is a great opportunity to network, meet with potential employers, and make connections for internships.

Friday we have the first social event of the semester which will be ice skating! We will get a better discount if more people go, so encourage everyone to attend.

The March general meeting is next Thursday at 6:30PM with Dr. Basara. We will have pancakes and bacon from IHOP! Be sure to vote for your favorite pancake flavor in the GroupMe.

February General Meeting

February 15th, 2018

Big Event is April 14th! Sign up using the link below, and be sure to put that you are with the School of Meteorology. https://orgsync.com/login/university-of-oklahoma

The career fair is on March 1st in the NWC Atrium. Event runs from 1-4:30 p.m. with a reception (free food and drinks!) from 4:30-5:30. Kari Roop will host a career fair workshop next week. Vote on the doodle poll in the Groupme and feel free to bring your resume for a critique.

For this month’s meeting we had Dr. Chuck Doswell speak to us about “Storm Chasing, the Good, the Bad, and the Stupid.”

The Good

  • You test what you learn in class.
  • Meteorological concepts aren’t just abstract ideas so chasing is a way to apply what you learn in your textbook to real life.
  • It will help you learn forecasting skills. Try to make your own forecasts before you look at the SPC or NWS. This is a valuable exercise in critical thinking.
  • Working with your peers.

Dr. Doswell’s advice:

-Ask more questions in class

-Sit in the front row

-Don’t cram right before an exam, but instead understand the material as you are learning it.

-To do this job well, you have to have an understanding of everything. Your understanding will evolve.

Chasing Storms vs. Storm Spotting vs. Scientific Storm Chasing

  • Storm spotters are volunteers performing a service.
  • Storm chasing is a selfish activity. Chasers can help train the spotters, but you’re not necessarily doing it for a service.
  • Scientific storm chasing is a fixed observing system. You get told where to go and you take observations of the storms. You must understand your observing tools. This type of chasing serves to help improve our knowledge of severe storm behavior to assist in improving future forecasting techniques.

The Bad

  • When storms come on days when we have academic conflicts. (CHOOSE ACADEMICS!)
  • There will always be other storms to chase. You only have one good chance at getting a good education.
  • There are significant risks when being in the vicinity of lightning, hail, tornadoes, etc.

The Stupid

  • It is easy for storm chasers to be irresponsible, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Always follow the rules of the road!
  • Actions have consequences. You are responsible for yourself, but your actions may affect others.

“No matter how many times you get away with being stupid, it will eventually come back to haunt you…Your risks will catch up with you.” -Dr. Doswell


  • Negative view of storm chasers by the public and law enforcement
  • Storm chasers have become exploited by media
  • Injuries/fatalities of chasers and others

What can we do?

  • If you chase, chase responsibly.
  • Let people know that not all chasers are irresponsible and lunatics.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak out and let other chasers know if they have committed a reckless act.

February Officer Meeting

February 6th, 2018

Our first general meeting of the semester will be Thursday, February 15th, in NWC 1350 with Dr. Chuck Doswell! (Dr. Basara’s talk was postponed to March). There will be Olive Garden and lots of pretty supercell thunderstorm pictures!

The SCAN board would like to note that our student organization is open for anyone to join! Whether you’re an alumni, high school student, or even a different major, we would love to have you join us for our upcoming events!

Mississippi State University will be hosting the Annual Southeast Severe Storms Symposium March 24th and 25th with big names in meteorology such as The Weather Channel’s Carl Parker and NWS Norman’s Rick Smith. Registration is $25 for those interested in attending over spring break!

There will be a SCAN outreach meeting this Friday, February 9th, at 5PM for any students who are interested. The first Weather Friends event of the semester will be Wednesday, February 21st, from 2-2:30PM.

January Officer Meeting

January 16th, 2018

The first SCAN social event will be our Groundhog Day Party which will be on February 1st at 8PM at Sooner Legends. Tickets are $5 for dinner and $7 for dinner and drinks (age 21+). There will be a DJ and karaoke! We hope to see you there!

We will have more updates on our upcoming February general meeting and SCAN outreach opportunities in the near future.

OU SCAN Brings Holiday Joy to Aspiring Meteorologist

January 8, 2017

Over Winter Break, we were contacted by a mom from Texas who has an 11-year-old son, Max, who is an aspiring Meteorologist and hopes to study thunderstorms and tornadoes as he gets older! His mom wanted to get him a SCAN shirt for Christmas, and our leadership team jumped into gear to make it happen! We just got this photo of Max, who’s wearing our T-Shirt today as he heads back to school! Good luck this spring Max, and we can’t wait to see you here at OU in a few years!

November General Meeting

November 14th, 2017

We began the meeting with a couple reminders:

  1. The November/December Social Event is our annual movie night on Tuesday, December 5th, at 6PM in NWC 1313. Keep an eye out for a poll to pick which Christmas movie we watch! Tweet @OU_SCAN or send suggestions in the GroupMe.
  2. The Christmas tree decorating event is Tuesday, November 28th, from 11 AM- 2PM in the NWC Atrium. Cookies and drinks will be provided. Bring your own favorite ornaments as well!
  3. The National Weather Museum and Science Center is looking for volunteers. Go to their website, http://myweathermuseum.com/volunteer/ to sign up for a shift!

At tonight’s general meeting we had Cassie Heiter from News 9, Carlo Falco from Fox 25, and Chip Maxham from Fox 25 join us to talk about meteorology and broadcast. The floor was opened up for the attendees to ask questions, some of which are listed below.

What is the toughest weather event you have gone through?
Cassie- Working during a severe weather event when their chief meteorologist, David Payne, was not there.
Chip- Forecasting for a freezing fog event. Another event he found difficult was when the radar was down, so no information was coming in, and he still had to cover a severe thunderstorm.
Carlo- Forecasting for a microburst event with very strong winds. Being live on air while listening to the directors giving updates in his ear at the same time made it a very difficult event to cover.

How much time do you put into your work offscreen?
Carlo- Excluding severe weather, he will get 6-7 minutes of on air time during a 1-hour show. Building a forecast can take anywhere from 20 minutes for clear weather days to a few hours for severe weather. You also may have to build some of the graphics from scratch which can take some time.
Chip- Starting out, you may be a reporter as well as an on-air meteorologist, doing weather only 2 or 3 days a week. But doing this, and getting very good at it, will help improve your resume for later jobs.

What are the steps to becoming a chief meteorologist or getting a full-time job?
Chip- Some people get chief meteorologist jobs right out of college, but that is usually for a small station. A lot of it is being confident and appearing to know what you are doing. It’s about your presentation.
Carlo- You will have those few who can get a job out of college and be on air 5 days a week, but those jobs are usually taken by people who have been out of college for a few years. Starting out, you are at the bottom of the totem poll, but you will move up. A lot of it depends on how good you are. How you handle yourself when everything goes wrong and being able to cover severe weather determines how good of a meteorologist you are.
Cassie- I was a part-time meteorologist on the weekends and in the morning when I first started. You move up as you become more polished with your look, presentation, etc.

How important is social media? Advice on personal social media accounts?
Carlo- It is becoming more and more important for reaching people. You are not only on TV, you are on social media as well. As for personal accounts, hide everything. Make your account as private as possible.
Cassie- I have noticed doing silly things on my social media grabs the attention of my followers. I hope that by being relatable and connecting to my audience, they will also pay attention to me during severe weather. She also advised students to make their personal accounts completely private. Rule of thumb: if something on your account would be uncomfortable to put on the news, take it off.

Do people watch the TV or look at their phones more for their weather?
Carlo- For severe weather, TV is still the biggest way that people are reached.
Cassie- News 9 uses Facebook Live to stream their severe weather coverage, which reaches a lot of people.

What is something we can do while in college to prepare for a career in broadcast?
Carlo- Practice talking to a camera. It’s harder to talk to a camera than to talk to a person. Also, forecast every day. Many internship opportunities are posted online, you just have to look for them.
Chip- If you can take an acting or improv. class, it will help your broadcast voice and your presentation. Broadcast meteorology is all about improvisation. The best way to get started with your career in broadcast is to get an internship while in college. He found that the people with the best internships got the best jobs.
Cassie- If you want to be a broadcaster, you have to minor in broadcast. It helps you learn public speaking, good journalism, and helps you get over any shyness you may have. Internships are also very important. You learn from people who are experts and get real experience. Many graduates are hired by the stations they interned at. I would encourage you to email people at the station, such as the news director or the chief meteorologist, and ask them if internships are available.

November Officer Meeting

November 7th, 2017

Our November General Meeting is next Tuesday, November 14th, at 7PM! We will have a fantastic panel of broadcasters from Fox 25, News 9, and possibly KOCO there giving insight into the field of broadcast meteorology. Come hungry, we will have Canes!

We may have another seminar meeting in February with Matt Bolton, who is a psychologist with a research focus in meteorology. More details will be given in the future about these meetings.

Do you like decorating for the holiday season? We are looking for volunteers to help decorate the trees in the NWC atrium! Cookies, and hot chocolate will be provided! Feel free to bring your own special ornaments as well for the trees. This event will be held on a Tuesday, with more details to come.

During finals week, take a break from studying to join us for a movie night with ice cream, hot chocolate, and candy canes!

October General Meeting

October 10th, 2017

Tonight’s guest speaker was the coordination meteorologist for OU, Dr. Kevin Kloesel. He does weather support for every event on campus.

His opening words were, “Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t know the answers. Do forecasters wait to issue a forecast till when they know the answer? No.”

The challenge with weather is that the risk is ever changing. There has to be an emergency plan for every type of hazard and for every building.

Part of Dr. Kloesel’s job is to look at every building on campus and put a safety plan in place. He must take into account every possible scenario in which a storm, tornado, etc. can approach a building because it is important to plan for what could happen and not waiting for it to.

Kloesel then challenges us to put down our radar apps, and instead pay attention to the sky and what is happening right above us. Are we here to learn about an app or to know more about the atmosphere than what we knew this morning?

Kloesel says, “We must be more involved with the decision process. We can’t just throw people information, or apps, and expect them to make a good decision. We must help them interpret information. We must stop worrying about liability, and instead start telling people where they need to go and what they need to do.”

Questions Kloesel asks before and during every event: What is your APP (Actionable Proactive Protective) against the risk? Do you shelter in place? Shelter in a shelter? Move the event? Postpone/reschedule event? Cancel the event?

Kloesel added, “If you let the weather evacuate an event for you, you have messed up.”

There is a lot of pressure on us. We have a lot of trust placed on us. We must learn our craft, learn about the atmosphere, and not look so much at our apps but instead at what is going on around us. When you signed up for meteorology, you didn’t just sign up for forecasting. You signed up to protect lives and property.

When looking at radars, work top down. Things show up at higher tilts a good 15 minutes before they show up on Tilt 1. Another viable option would be to use KFDR Tilt 1 when looking at weather around the OKC area.

Take away: “Radar is a great tool, but there are limitations. Use this data in concert with other datasets and fundamental knowledge of atmospheric processes.” Use your own meteorological knowledge.

In his parting message Dr. Kloesel stated, ‘“Hope” is not a plan! Your plans must be tailored for every storm. Everything can change depending on where the storm is, how fast it is moving, how fast it develops, etc.”

Dr. Kloesel offers a course (METR 4803) on event management for upperclassmen or by special clearance from Dr. Kloesel.

October Officer Meeting

October 3rd, 2017

Join us for our October general meeting Tuesday, October 10th, at 6:30PM in NWC 1350. Dr. Kevin Kloesel, the University’s Meteorologist, will be speaking. Come hungry because we will have Panda Express!

The next social event will be the pumpkin carving contest on October 27th at 6PM. More details to come!

At the National Weather Festival, on Saturday, October 21st, SCAN will have a table set up and be selling t-shirts, bumper stickers, and pet tornadoes. We’re hoping to make the table interactive, either with a display or a fun game the attendees could play to draw them to our table. If you have any ideas, contact one of the SCAN officers.

The topic for our November 14th general meeting was decided and we will have a broadcast panel with meteorologists from Oklahoma City to discuss the broadcast aspect of meteorology.

Looking ahead, future plans for general meetings will cover severe weather topics as well as the research field in Meteorology.

September General Meeting

September 12th, 2017

Rick Smith, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) from NWS Norman, was this month’s guest speaker and talked to us about the struggles and triumphs of communicating weather to the public.

Daily, when there isn’t severe weather, he has many different roles such as a customer service rep, social media manager, consultant, forecaster, adviser, etc. He does not actually coordinate warnings, and prefers to be called a service coordinating meteorologist. He works with the integrated warning team, providing communication, relationships, and coordination between the NWS, EM/Public Safety, and the media. It is to these relationships that he attributes the success of the coordination. He is also responsible for outreach and education efforts to prepare people and raise public awareness.

What is the best part about the job? He has had the honor of meeting former president Barack Obama and the band Linkin Park, and has been a guest on WxGeeks, WeatherBrains, and The Today Show. Other highlights are when the warning systems work and he can help communicate the lifesaving information during severe weather events. Ultimately, this is the reason he is doing this job.

What is the bad part of the job? The loss of lives, loss of property, and emotional damage that comes from the severe weather events. Other low points of the job are when they do everything they can to get the word out, and try to get people to be safe, but lives are still lost.

Advice from Rick Smith:

· Do something that makes you distinguishable

· Look for experience opportunities

· Think beyond meteorology – there is more you can do outside of meteorology which will help you with your career.

· Be flexible and open-minded with jobs

· Service above self. Meteorology is a service, it’s not about you.

Upcoming events:

Thursday, September 14th @ 6:30 p.m. in NWC 5600: Ariel Cohen will give us his parting words before he assumes his new position as the SOO at NWS Topeka.

Tuesday, September 19th, @ 6:30 p.m. in NWC 1350: SoM Student Affairs Committee Undergraduate Town Hall.

Friday, September 29th, from 7-9 pm @ Elevation Trampoline Park in Moore: First Social Event!

Don’t forget to sign up to volunteer at the National Weather Festival!

September Officer Meeting

September 25th, 2017

Check out our social media for updates on the upcoming research fair, general meeting, undergraduate town hall, and the first social event.

Join us at our first general meeting on September 12th for pizza and a special presentation by Rick Smith, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for National Weather Service Norman. Be sure to bring your own questions for him as well!

Don’t forget to check in when you arrive at the next meeting. If you attend every meeting you will be entered into a raffle for a prize at the end of the semester.

A special meeting will be held on Thursday, September 14th at 6:30 pm with Ariel Cohen from the SPC. Ariel Cohen is leaving the SPC to become the new SOO (Science and Operations Officer) Meteorologist in Topeka. Please join us to hear his parting words.

Information for a hurricane fundraiser will be sent out soon. Feel free to send us your ideas as well to help with the hurricane relief.

More fundraising opportunities will be at the National Weather Festival. Some ideas that are being discussed are selling T-shirts, having a bake sale, or doing a 50-50 raffle.

August General Meeting

August 29th, 2017

The first general meeting of the semester was hosted by the Oklahoma Weather Lab and OU SCAN. The semester dues were collected for SCAN, making members eligible to vote in the elections for the freshman representatives, graduate representative, and vice president.

President Tabitha Kloss began the meeting by introducing the board members of the organization and explaining what the organization is. Attendance is encouraged at meetings, and in order to encourage attendance, we will be holding a raffle at the end of the semester. Anyone who has attended all the general meetings will be entered into the raffle. The prize will be getting back a semester’s worth of dues! ($15)

The new website was revealed to the freshman! Publicist Jordan Overton showed them the different tabs so they could see where to find information about the different aspects of the organization.

Outreach Coordinator Erik Green explained who the Weather Friends are. In case you’re wondering, they are weather superheroes who give severe weather safety presentations at local elementary schools and attend severe weather awareness events in the community.

Oklahoma Weather Lab President Sean Ernst talked about OWL, the forecasting club. He explained the forecasting shifts and the monthly forecasting workshops. He also announced that the first meeting will be on Thursday, Sept 21st, where students will learn about tropical meteorology.

The development team for OWL, presented as well and invited students to come to their informational meetings to learn about HOOT, the programming side of OWL. No previous programming experience is needed; they will be teaching the basics.

Elections were held following announcements. Ty Dickinson was elected VP, Greg Jennrich was elected as Graduate Representative, and the two freshman representatives are Connor Bruce and Jacob Genuise.

Upcoming events:

SCAN September General Meeting with Rick Smith – Tuesday, Sept. 12th at 6:30 p.m.

SoM Student Affairs Committee Undergraduate Town Hall- Tuesday, Sept. 19th at 6:30 p.m. NWC 1350

National Weather Festival- Saturday, Oct. 21st. Need volunteers from 9 a.m.- 12p.m., or 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Return form to Tabitha or NWC Library (4300) by Sept. 29th.

School of Meteorology Welcome Back BBQ

August 23, 2017

REMINDER: The School of Meteorology Welcome Back BBQ is tomorrow, Thursday, August 24th, from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the National Weather Center. Make sure you come on out because local businesses donated tons of prizes that you can try and win! We’ll be playing a bunch of games, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities. The prizes are in the forms of gift cards, gift certificates, and merchandise items from the following locations:

Campus Corner
– Fuzzy’s
– Louie’s
– Pepe Delgados
– The Apothem
– Balfour of Norman
– Victoria’s Pasta Shop
– New York Pizza & Pasta
– O’Connell’s
– Baked Bear
– Second Wind Coffee House

Main Street
– Bigfoot Creative
– The Diner
– Puebla
– McNellie’s
– Sooner Dairy Lunch
– Sooner Theater

Thank you so much to all these businesses for their contributions. And to all the new freshmen, incoming transfer students, returning students, and faculty/staff – may the odds be ever in your favor tomorrow!

August Officer Meeting

August 22, 2017

At tonight’s Officer Meeting, we started off by nominating a new Outreach Coordinator, Erik Green, and Webmaster, Tyler Stanfield. We then discussed the School of Meteorology Welcome Back BBQ, which will be in the NWC atrium from 5:00-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 24th. SCAN is in charge of providing drinks for the BBQ, as well as collecting prizes to give away. Tabitha, Ryan, Erik, and Leah went to local businesses on Main Street on Friday afternoon, and then Tabitha and Erik went to local businesses on Campus Corner on Monday afternoon (not until after the solar eclipse, of course!). There are plenty of prizes for people to win! At the meeting, we came up with a list of “minute-to-win” games for people to play to make winning the prizes all the more exciting. Finally, we discussed the Joint OWL/SCAN General Meeting, which will be held next week in NWC 1313 on Tuesday, August 29th, at 6:30 p.m. At that meeting, we will discuss general information about both OWL and SCAN, elect a Vice President and two Freshmen Representatives for SCAN, and finish up by watching Into the Storm whilst enjoying some popcorn, candy, and soda (free to anyone who attends). We hope to see everyone there!

Meeting Minutes

July 6, 2017

If you ever miss a meeting, this is your resource! After each meeting, a brief overview of what was discussed by both the speaker and the officers will be posted here. Announcements will also be posted here throughout the semester.

First Post

June 29, 2017

This post is a test!