The SCO at StormFest 2013

StormFest is an annual event which brings together groups from around North Carolina to talk about storms, and how to be prepared for the dangers these storms can bring. This year, StormFest took place on May 4th, and was attended by an estimated 3700 people! Attendees got to participate in many events throughout the day, which included panel discussions about severe weather with their favorite broadcast meteorologists, free showings of “Tornado Alley 3D”, and SKYWARN weather spotter training.

In addition to these events there were also education and weather organization booths scattered around the museum. The staff and students here at the SCO hosted a booth where we engaged and educated visitors about weather and climate as well as our office services. Our booth featured a contest to win a CoCoRaHS rain gauge along with many interactive experiments to engage folks of all ages.

Visitors to the SCO booth talking with Ashley Hiatt.

The real beauty of our weather experiments is that they were a great way to teach people of all ages about the basic physical processes that create weather. Tornado force balances, structure, and circulation were demonstrated with our “Tornado in a Bottle” and “Tornado Machine” experiments. The physical processes and ingredients needed for cloud formation were demonstrated with our “Cloud-in-a-Bottle” experiment. Finally, the awesome power of atmospheric pressure, temperature gradients, and water phase change all came together in our “Can-Crushing” experiment.

For those of you following along on Twitter @NCSCO, you may have seen our tweets regarding our CoCoRaHS rain gauge contest. Prior to StormFest, SCO staff members filled a CoCoRaHS rain gauge with 1573 M&Ms; the person who guessed closest to this number without going over won a new CoCoRaHS rain gauge! Zavier from Rolesville took home the prize by guessing a total of 1570. Congratulations Zavier! Pictured below is the frequency distribution of all the guesses for the M&M count.

[placeholder for Google Chart]

The CoCoRaHS gauge filled with M&Ms
Frequency distribution of M&M guesses at StormFest 2013

If you happened to miss StormFest this year, don’t fret! StormFest is a popular annual event that began back in 2010. Try to make it out next time and stop by our booth to join the fun. SCO staff and students who helped put this event together enjoyed themselves so much it could hardly be considered work.