New WeatherBug Partnership Enhances Meteorology Program, Ensures Safety

WeatherBug

By Brian Kleemann

The new WeatherBug partnership is providing a bright outlook for College of DuPage.

WeatherBug is an international network of real-time weather and lightening detection systems that provide millions of people worldwide with weather-related information. Through the partnership, COD has installed a new weather station that monitors the weather, providing information that is being used in the classroom and by the Chicago media. In addition, a new website provides local weather conditions for both the campus and the community.

“The administration understood the importance of being part of an international WeatherBug network,” said Paul Sirvatka, Professor of Meteorology and leader of the College’s renowned Thunderstorm Laboratory program. “Our meteorology students are using this information to study weather, and local media such as WGN, ABC7 and FOX5 are using our data during their on-air broadcasts, helping to ensure the safety of our residents.”

One of the weather station’s most important features is the lightning detector, which will detect activity within a 30-mile radius. Assistant Professor of Meteorology Victor Gensini said both the campus and community will benefit from this important piece of equipment.

“Lightning is difficult to predict and monitor, so having a high-tech detector makes a very big difference,” he said. “We can alert the authorities of approaching lightning storms, which also helps us warn sports teams that are playing outdoors on campus.”

The weather station also measures temperature, dewpoint, pressures, wind speed and direction, rainfall and sunshine. A high-definition camera is located on top of the Berg Instructional Center, with the view available on the web site. Fifteen-minute time lapses can be played online, while 24-hour time lapses can be used in the classroom to study changing weather conditions, warm and cold fronts, and other weather phenomena.

In addition to the view from the camera, the new web site provides current weather readings, wind strength, the Chicago area radar, forecast information, hazardous weather information, school closings, severe weather protocol, and general weather safety information.

“Our partnership with WeatherBug enhances our place as one of the first academic institutions to achieve a ‘Storm Ready’ designation from the National Weather Service in Chicago,” Gensini said.

For access to information provided by the new COD WeatherBug station, visit weather.cod.edu/campusweather.

Caption: Meteorology professors Victor Gensini and Paul Sirvatka in front of the new weather equipment at College of DuPage.