View from the Hill: Disaster Science Operations Center Prepares Students



WKU’s recently opened Disaster Science Operations Center provides a more robust location for the university to operate in emergencies and crisis situations.

As WKU’s Amy Bingham reports in this week’s View from the Hill, nothing emphasized that need more than the tornadoes that hit Bowling Green just over a year ago last weekend.

“Last year when the tornado hit, it was right at that moment, so we need an operations center like this.”

The DSOC (Disaster Science Operations Center) was still in the planning stages when a dangerous tornado hit near the campus last December 11th.

“Even though this space wasn’t running, it was running that night. We were virtually on the run in the aftermath of the tornado.”

After the tornado, meteorology students like Joseph Lewis took action.

“We went out to the Creekwood area and Mosque Creek and saw all the horrendous damage and it had to be done. From John Gordon, what does it take for a building of that level to be affected?” I have gained practical experience that shows the weather system.”

A little over a month ago, the DSOC officially opened at the Environmental Science and Technology Hall (EST), offering applied learning in weather forecasting, television broadcasting, and emergency management.

“It’s kind of like a working triangle in the real world. That component was missing, so we added it, and it’s kind of the blueprint for this facility.”

Lewis and his colleagues have put this type of prediction into action at events on campus and at high-profile events across the country.

“This year I was at the USA Games and had to predict it in Orlando. Most recently, I had to do the Chicago Marathon.”

Big dreams don’t stop there. Durkey says this interdisciplinary approach will expand as interest in emergency management continues to grow among meteorology students.

“It all came together. We are now looking forward to making this work well into the future.”

Oliver said the DSOC is looking to expand its partnerships with K-12 schools, the business community and other businesses that are highly affected by weather.


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