Annual Family Weatherfest at UNL

Posted By: Camila Orti

From air pressure experiments to understanding how a tornado forms, the 14th annual Weatherfest kept weather enthusiasts from across the state busy.

“We're helping a public learn more about weather and be better prepared,” organizer and climatology professor Ken Dewey said.

Dewey says the festival is growing. This year, more than 2,500 people attended. Hardin Hall on UNL's East Campus was not short of exhibits and demonstrations.

“We aim every year to do something that's new,” Dewey said.

For the first time this year, kids and their families got to experience the green screen, and feel what it's really like to do a television weather forecast. The weather studio was a hit with the kids, and aspiring meteorologists even got to meet some familiar faces from the Channel 8 Weather Team like Luke Dorris and Sean McMullen.

“It's really cool seeing all the weather people,” 11-year-old Morgan Madsen said.

Morgan says she wants to be a forecaster when she grows up.

“I know there have been many times when she pretends to do the weather at home, so I think it's kind of neat that she got to meet the forecasters,” mother Kori Madsen said.

In the auditorium, severe weather experts talked about timely topics like the tornadoes that struck northeast Nebraska in October and what to expect this year.

“They went to school for the day, but there are no tests and they don't feel like they went to school for the day,” Dewey said.

The event was free to the public.

This year's speaker roster included: Robert Henson, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Jeremy Bower, JRBStorm Photography; Ariel Cohen, National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center; and Barb Mayes, National Weather Service.