National Severe Storms Laboratory
Outreach and Communications
NSSL conducts, develops, supports, promotes, and coordinates formal and informal educational activities at all levels to enhance public awareness and understanding of severe weather and severe weather research. Exposing children and students to weather information and weather careers will help inspire the next generation of scientists in support of NOAA Education goals to develop a future workforce skilled in disciplines critical to NOAA’s mission.
Print and web publications are designed to communicate NSSL’s science to people of all ages and levels of understanding, from school children to scientists.
NSSL’s home page can receive over
a million hits each week. The website is designed to meet the needs of
a diverse audience by providing links for media and education, in addition
to information about our research. Questions addressed to the Webmaster
total up to 400 a year.
“That Weather Show”
has developed a collection of podcasts featuring short audio clips on topics
ranging from career options to severe weather safety.
Severe Weather Primer
Questions and answers online are about weather
phenomena including tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, hurricanes, floods,
winter weather and hail.
OK-WARN is the Oklahoma Weather Alert Remote Notification program that provides emergency weather information using pagers and e-mail.
The Frequently Asked Questions represent some of the recurring
correspondence NSSL receives about severe weather, weather data, and careers
Severe Weather Safety
provides decision-making information about staying safe during severe weather,
including information about adaptive special-needs weather radios, OK-WARN
pagers, and emergency preparedness family disaster planning.
“VORTEX, Unraveling the Secrets”
Follow the story of the VORTEX Project,
a large field experiment designed to study rotation in tornadoes, from
its inception in 1994 to conclusion in 1995.
Weather Coloring Books
The Billy and Maria coloring books are for children
who want to learn more about the weather; these pdf files are available
online and can be printed and used for weather education in the classroom
or at home.
Video Highlights features brief video productions showcasing
the research and activities of NSSL.
NSSL Briefings is a publication from the National Severe
Storms Laboratory intended to provide federal managers, staff, and other
colleagues in the meteorological community with timely information on research,
activities and employees.
NSSL Hot Items
Hot Items features current short news items about the people, research,
and activities of the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Student internship programs
Weather balloon launches are always a crowd favorite during the National Weather Festival.
NSSL scientists have mentored 80 undergraduate students during the past 10 summers through programs including the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program and the Research Experience for Undergraduates. In addition, NSSL employs a number of students to help assist with research projects during the year.
NSSL participates in the annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) “WeatherFest” – a giant science fair focused on weather. NSSL’s booth hosted hundreds of visitors of all ages including families, students and scout troops. Common topics of discussion include tornado safety tips, NSSL’s new radar technology, and how to become a meteorologist.
National Weather Festival
NSSL and other NOAA Weather Partners host the annual National Weather Festival each fall in Norman, OK attended by several thousand people. The festival aims to reach out to the community by providing an opportunity to learn about operational weather activities, current research, and to promote an interest in weather to people of all ages.
NSSL staff escort thousands of visitors through Norman NOAA facilities each year. The tours begin in the NWC Visitors’ Center with a presentation on NSSL and include the NWC Observation Deck, the Storm Prediction Center and the NWS Forecast office in addition to NSSL.