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ULM launches weather balloons

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Stock image of a weather balloon by Wikimedia user: Famartin

This story was originally published by Alyssa Azzara and is republished here with permission.  The original story can be found here.
[Editor’s Note: This story was published on April 9, 2021. The use of “this afternoon” in the story below correlates to Friday, April 9, 2021]

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – Weather balloons are the primary source of data above the ground. It also helps professors and students with their research.

“We’re very interested whenever there’s a chance for severe weather like there is today, and knowing what the atmosphere looks like above the ground, because ultimately, it’s what’s happening above us that will largely dictate the type of storms we get around North Louisiana today,” said University of Louisiana at Monroe professor of atmospheric science Todd Murphy.

This afternoon, ULM launched a weather balloon from the roof of Hannah Hall to send data to the National Weather Service in Shreveport and Jackson, Mississippi.

The data will help them better understand what the atmosphere looks like in our area. Murphy said the data can help save lives.

“As the balloon rises in the atmosphere, it measures temperature, humidity, pressure, and wind speed and wind direction,” said Murphy.

ULM is the only school launching weather balloons in the area.

Murphy said the data helps the National Weather Service confirm their weather hypotheses and issue severe weather watches and warnings.

“Anything we can do to support their mission of protecting life and property, I think is very important,” said Murphy.

Students are thrilled they get to help the National Weather Service.

“I think it’s extremely cool. Because what I want to do later in life is work in the National Weather Service. And so doing this and helping them properly forecast for our area really gets me excited for, you know, what I’m gonna do later in life,” said ULM student Jacob Zeringue.

Murphy said they will likely launch more balloons into the night depending on the weather.

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