For Immediate Release


StormStudy heads to the Plains for eight day chase & research trip



John Van Pelt
The StormStudy Project

RALEIGH, NC (May 21, 2000) -- StormStudy project lead, John Van Pelt, is on the way to the Great Plains for a research trip that will start with visits to the National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) both in Norman, Oklahoma. The trip will run from May 26th-June 5th and will likely range from Oklahoma to Nebraska and will include video, still photo and data collection from the StormStudy Truck. In Oklahoma, John will meet with Val Castor, unofficially the world's first meteorologist to work as a full-time television tornado chaser, from KWTV in Oklahoma City and follow him around for a few days if conditions are right for severe weather.

"I'm really excited about this trip," Van Pelt says, "it's one thing to read the texts, watch the documentaries and hear the stories, but it's very different to really see the weather as it happens. I hope to get some great video and photos to include in the StormStudy literature and on the StormStudy website. North Carolina ranks 3rd in the United States for lightning deaths; a majority of hurricane deaths in the state occur when drivers try to ford moving water in their cars. Our goal is to educate the public about these kinds of threats and save lives. More severe weather research and first-hand knowledge about the threats will help us do this.

The StormStudy Project is a severe weather awareness effort created in the public interest. Based in Raleigh, StormStudy provides Central North Carolina residents with educational opportunities throughout the year and issues mobile weather warnings and tips during severe weather events.