Group of Aggie students chase storms to learn

POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 3:37pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 11:01am

COLLEGE STATION -- This year has been one of the stormiest on record.

Just this weekend around 75 tornadoes ripped through the mid-west and while those in the storm's path seek shelter, a group of Texas A&M students do the exact opposite... in fact, they go toward the severe weather.

While most college students are planning what party they'll go to next, a group of around 60 Texas A&M students are calculating what storm cells they're going to chase.

"A lot of time what we'll do is look at the storm prediction center website," said team leader, Matt Raper. "They'll put out severe weather risk areas that we use to identify areas we want to chase in."

So with the chance of severe weather this past weekend, Grayson Almond packed up and headed to Oklahoma in hopes of seeing some tornadoes.

And with the help of some state of the art equipment, his team tracked the storms as they formed and saw at four different tornadoes.

"it's just a wonder to see nature produce such an amazing thing so seeing a tornado is something you should be proud of," Almond said.

The group, Texas Aggie Storm Chasers or TASC for short, are believed to be the only student-run storm chasing team in the state of Texas and while some may say what this group does is dangerous, team leader Matt Raper, says it's educational.

"When you can see what is actually happening out in the field and you can see the storms popping up and see all the severe weather happening around you, you can see how chaotic it can be as you try to zero in one that one cell you want to chase. I believe that provides you with a much better experience."

And if they get lucky and spot severe weather they'll report it back to the National Weather Service offices in Forth Worth or Houston.

Because while they're main goal is to see tornadoes in the sky, Raper says it's also all about helping to keep others safe on the ground.

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