In October, the University of Alabama in Huntsville student chapter of AMS (UAHuntsville AMS) hosted its first Rocket City Weather Fest (RCWF), a free weather festival for the North Alabama community. For its debut year, the fest had close to 300 in attendance, as well as more than 50 exhibitors and presenters.
“Due to the variety of weather extremes experienced in the Tennessee Valley, one of the priorities of the UAHuntsville AMS is to educate the community about severe weather safety,” comments Sandy LaCorte, RCWF event coordinator and UAHuntsville AMS education outreach committee chair. “The event gave children and adults the opportunity to explore the atmospheric sciences through hands-on activities, demonstrations, and informative seminars, emphasizing safety and preparedness.”
At the Wacky World of Weather, kids learned about hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and floods. Other activities included weather-themed movies in Sci-Quest’s Roaming Dome, a planetarium style inflatable theater, plus a weather miniature golf and beanbag toss. Attendees were also given the opportunity to see a weather balloon launched by the UAHuntsville atmospheric chemistry research group.
RCWF is the chapter’s newest endeavor in community outreach. Members, who are undergraduate and graduate students in pursuing careers in atmospheric and earth sciences, also speak at local schools, judge regional and state science fairs, administer tests for the Science Olympiad, and program weather radios at various events.