March 25, 2022 marks one year after the killer EF-4 tornado tore through Newnan, GA. The AthensGaWeather broadcasting team, composed of Atmospheric Sciences undergraduates in the Geography department, was one of the many broadcasting studios to livestream coverage of the tornado, saving the lives of at least two people in the Newnan area, according to the people themselves. "My husband was already asleep when the sirens went off, and I heard them but wasn't really concerned," said Ashley K., a Newnan resident. "We don't have TV channels, so I was looking on YouTube for some local weather. I couldn't find anything local until I came across Will O'Neil." O'Neil (pictured above during the livestream) was one of the students on the AthensGaWeather broadcasting team who was working on the livestream during the Newnan tornado in the broadcasting studio located in the Geography-Geology Building's basement in Athens, GA. "I listened to him for only a couple minutes as he reiterated that the tornado was very serious.... I was able to get my husband out of bed just in time for our walls to completely bust in, and a huge tree fell right on our bed where were just laying a moment before. [Will] really saved our lives."
Recently, the Atmospheric Sciences program in the Department of Geography, led by Drs. John Knox and Marshall Shepherd, initiated a campaign through Georgia Funder to install a commercial weather graphics system that will provide students with hands on experience that is often required for them to obtain broadcast meteorology jobs after graduation. Plus, this system would give students the ability to track the timing of when storms (like tornadoes) will arrive in each town, identify areas of wind rotation that may be a tornado, or zoom into a street-level view so that specific road names and neighborhoods at risk can be called out.
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