Meteorologist to discuss storm chasing in WCSU lecture Feb. 17
Veteran tornado chaser Jim Bishop to explore science and safety of the hunt

DANBURY, CONN. — Connecticut meteorologist Jim Bishop will share lessons and video recordings from more than a decade’s experience in chasing severe storms and tornadoes in a lecture on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, at Western Connecticut State University.

Bishop’s presentation on “Storm Chasing: Behind the Scenes” will be at 7 p.m. in Room 125 of the Science Building on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. Admission to the talk, sponsored by the WCSU “Science at Night” lecture series, will be free and the public is invited to attend. A reception with light refreshments will follow in the Science Building Atrium.

Recipient of a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, Bishop has witnessed and tracked more than 50 tornadoes since his first storm chase in 1999 during his undergraduate studies. The supercell storms he has chased in the American Midwest and Great Plains regions have produced tornadoes recorded among the largest and most destructive in U.S. history, including the 2003 tornado of catastrophic F4 intensity in Manchester, S.D., and the record 2.5-mile-wide tornado in Wilber, Neb., in 2004.

Bishop’s lecture will provide an introduction to appropriate safety measures in the event of severe storm and tornado outbreaks, drawing upon his personal experience to debunk popular myths about tornado safety. The presentation will offer an inside view of real-life storm chases, and describe the equipment and scientific knowledge required to conduct storm chases while minimizing risk to personal safety. Bishop’s wife MaryLeigh also will offer her observations as a non-professional participant who has accompanied her husband on numerous storm chases. The Bishops will answer questions from the audience at the conclusion of the lecture.

Bishop has taken extensive video footage of supercell and tornado development that has aired on The Weather Channel program “Storm Stories,” the Discovery Channel program “Raging Nature: Tornadoes,” the History Channel and other television and cable networks worldwide. Selections from some of his most memorable tornado videos will be shown during the presentation, with tornado DVDs to be offered for sale following the talk.

A Shelton resident, Bishop has served as a meteorologist in the energy industry for the past five years. He currently provides short- and long-range forecasts of temperatures, hurricanes and weather patterns across North America as head meteorologist for Sasco Energy Partners, an energy trading hedge fund based in Westport. He has appeared at public forums across the United States to share his perspectives on storm chasing, including his presentation on the theme during the Tri-State Weather Conference last October at WCSU.

Bishop’s website profile noted that his “thirst for the next chase grows stronger by the day. Storm chasing is not just about finding tornadoes — it is about finding spectacular supercells while enjoying the road trip and camaraderie. Supercells are what drive Jim to chase, and tornadoes are merely the icing on the cake.”

For more information, contact WCSU Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Thomas Philbrick at philbrickt@wcsu.edu or (203) 837-8773.

 
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

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