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ULM Partners With NOAA To Study Tornadoes This Season

Cory Crowe
The University of Oklahoma will stage a portable radar in NELA for the project.

The public is invited to learn more about the VORTEX-SE project and the University of Louisiana Monroe's role in this cooperative effort with the NOAA — the National Oceanic and Administrative Administration —  at 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 21 at the Monroe Regional Airport. The event will be in Avflight Hangar #3.

Credit NOAA
NOAA WP-3D Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

The Verification of the Origins of Tornadoes Experiment-Southeast, or VORTEX-SE, focuses on improving understanding of the unique characteristics of storms and tornadoes in the Southeast United States.

Now in its third year funded by NOAA, VORTEX-SE has brought together researchers from two dozen organizations — including ULM — to study the environmental characteristics around storms in the region, as well as the way people respond to those storms.
On Wednesday a NOAA Lockheed P-3, one of the Hurricane Hunters aircraft, will land at Monroe Regional Airport under the direction of Cmdr. Scott Price. The plane will be available for tours.
Dr. Anne Case Hanks, Dean of the College of Arts, Education and Sciences, and Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science Dr. Todd Murphy have led the ULM Atmospheric Science Program to new heights with the addition of the Doppler weather radar system in late 2017.
“Anchored by the ULM Doppler weather radar, northeast Louisiana is serving as one of the base locations for operations of the NOAA funded VORTEX-SE tornado field study this spring,” Murphy stated. “As part of this field project, the NOAA WP-3D aircraft (commonly known as one of the Hurricane Hunter aircraft) will be flying in our region collecting observations, in coordination with many other ground based weather observing platforms.”

Credit ULM OMC
The ULM Weather Radar come online in 2017.

By focusing all these instruments on the same storm from different angles, researchers believe they will see details in tornadic storms previously never captured. This information will ultimately lead to more timely and accurate forecasts and warnings for the public.
This spring, the primary goal is to gather Doppler radar observations of storms from a variety of instruments mounted on the NOAA P-3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft and mobile radar trucks, as well as stationary radars in Monroe and Huntsville, Ala. 
• Dr. Nick J. Bruno, President, University of Louisiana Monroe
• Erik Rasmussen, VORTEX-SE project lead, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory
• Dr. Todd Murphy, Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana Monroe
• Cmdr. Scott Price, P-3 commander, NOAA Aircraft Operations Center