The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 18th annual Weatherfest and Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium is April 7 at Nebraska Innovation Campus Convention Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Weather Ready Nation Ambassador program organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program prepares communities for extremes in weather, water and climate events.
“Our goal is to create more resilient communities by helping the public be better prepared to make fast and smart decisions to save lives and property and enhance livelihoods,” said Ken Dewey, climatologist and the event’s organizer. “Many of our 60-plus exhibits will have informational brochures and activities for the public.”
Participants can interact with emergency managers and government agencies at the state and local levels. Outdoor exhibits will include agencies such as the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Lincoln Electric Company, Nebraska State Patrol and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, with display vehicles for the public to explore.
“Visitors can learn more about how these agencies help the public prepare for extremes in weather and to assist when disasters impact our area,” Dewey said.
In addition to many of the hands-on activities from past years, there will be new exhibits and activities for people of all ages.
“We have responded to public requests and have expanded our outdoor exhibits to include storm-chase vehicles this year,” Dewey said. “The public will get to meet real storm chasers and examine their vehicles and learn more about this fascinating activity.”
The Weatherfest schedule includes:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m — Weatherfest exhibits, demonstrations and experiments
10 a.m. to noon — Meet local TV weathercasters from Lincoln and Omaha
Noon to 12:30 p.m. — Time-lapse videos of storms and tornadoes
12:30 to 1:30 p.m. — “Tornadoes in a Changing World: Recipe for Disaster,” Walker Ashley, Northern Illinois University
1:30 to 2:15 p.m. — “Twenty Years of Storm Chasing in a Changing Landscape: Stability in Storms and Service,” Ben McMillan, Field Reporter, Weather Nation and Tony Laubach, KAKE TV Meteorologist and storm chaser
2:15 to 2:30 p.m. — TWISTEX Tribute, “Celebrating the Life of Tim Samaras – The Future of Chasing and What We Hope People Do to Stay Safe/Responsible”
2:30 to 4:30 p.m. — “Storm-Spotter Training,” a workshop geared toward preparing the public to better survive severe storms
Food will be available for sale throughout the day. Parking for the event is free.
The event is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and its geography program, the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Nebraska Extension. Weatherfest acknowledges support from State Farm Insurance.