Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Tracking the weather at U-M football games

Posted: September 5, 2013

Tracking the weather at U-M football games

Going to the Big House usually means a day of watching football, but doctoral student David Wright spends football Saturdays in the press box watching the weather.

It’s fun for him, as he enjoys forecasting and feels that this is an opportunity to use his classroom skills in real life. He enjoys, “being able to put the skills to the test and know someone is relying on your information.”

Wright started weather monitoring at football games in 2011 after the U-M Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) approached him and Research Scientist Frank Marsik about creating a formal hazardous weather plan for major sporting events.

During their first season, thousands of football fans were evacuated when Wright and Marsik detected a structured, convective storm headed towards the stadium.

Marsik credits OEP for the safe evacuation. “I believe our biggest contribution was not so much in the detection of the existence of thunderstorms, but our ability to recognize, anticipate and project the growth and/or decay of storms that appeared on the radar.”

The storm ended up resulting in numerous reports of wind damage.

Wright and Marsik will be back this year for every home game.

(The photo shows Wright’s view from the press box.)

 

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