Faculty, staff and students,

This is your invitation to join President John Feaver at 9 a.m. Thursday morning at Owens Flag Plaza in the Campus Oval. Please help us welcome faculty and students from other universities participating in the research. Technically this is a press conference but it is open to the public as well. We are expecting OKC media to attend. -RT

Meteorologist Gary England will join a host of atmospheric scientists on Thursday morning ( March 9) when the latest advancement in radar technology is unveiled in Chickasha. The 9 a.m. ceremony is scheduled on the Owens Flag Plaza at the University of Science and Arts, a few steps from the tower where the first radar will be installed.

USAO President John Feaver will host the ceremony and will introduce Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, associate vice president of research at the University of Oklahoma. One of the world’s foremost atmospheric scientists, Droegemeier will introduce other lead scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and other universities participating in the research.

Droegemeier is a professor of meteorology at OU, as well as deputy director of the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). He is on the National Science Board and speaks on weather around the world.

Dr. Michael Zink is a research scientist at the University of Massachusetts. He is a key designer and builder of the radars being installed across Southwest Oklahoma. Mike Sarcione is an engineer with the Raytheon Corporation, a key industrial partner of CASA. Mike Foster is the meteorologist in charge at the Norman Area National Weather Service Forecast Office.

Gary England is chief meteorologist at KWTV-News 9 in Oklahoma City, where he has earned two Emmys for his groundbreaking weather coverage and research leadership. He is the author of four books on weather. England holds the distinction of being the person who initiated, with Enterprise Electronics, development of the world's first commercial Doppler radar.

Other guests include local emergency managers who serve a key role in monitoring weather and sharing data.

“USAO is delighted to host this important scientific announcement,” Feaver said. “Protecting more people from severe weather is the ultimate goal, and we applaud the work of scientists in advancing technology to preserve human life.”

Last year in the spring, USAO welcomed Droegemeier to discuss with Chickasha leaders the launch of this new technology designed to advance weather prediction significantly. USAO has been selected as the north corner of a testbed created by the National Weather Center in Norman.

The radar is being developed as part of the CASA program, a joint effort of the University of Oklahoma, University of Massachusetts Amhurst, Colorado State University and the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez.

The radar will sit on the top of USAO’s Onenet microwave tower, just behind Troutt Hall. Three other radars are being installed in Rush Springs, Lawton and Cyril to form a diamond-shaped testbed.

Droegemeier said the new radar will see better and lower than “Doppler” or “Nexrad” radars, which suffer a low blind spot because of the curvature of the earth.

So why is the Chickasha area important in this research? According to Droegemeier, the area between Lawton, Rush Springs, Chickasha and Cyril sees an average of 50 severe storms per year with an average of two tornado touchdowns a year.

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