Fort Stockton Middle School Students Track Hurricanes
By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON - Tracking storms and warning residents. That's what a group of Fort Stockton Middle School students were doing Thursday afternoon.

It was all part of a hands-on experiment that put them in real life situations.

Hurricane trackers in West Texas. It sounds crazy but some Fort Stockton Middle School students are getting a first hand look at severe weather.

"Kids are just really naturally interested in natural disasters," Science Teacher, Dawn Ramirez, said. "They're doing the job of a professional, which is pretty neat."

Ramirez is talking about Hurricane Alert.

It's a program put on by the Challenger Learning Center in West Virginia and it's associated with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The eighth graders were tracking systems that actually happened and our own Chief Meteorologist Tom Tefertiller was on hand to help out.

"They're using that data, they're tracking it on maps, they're graphing it, wind speed, air pressure," Ramirez said.

Not only are students working in groups in their command centers, but they're also feeding back information from these storms to a live meteorologist out in West Virginia.

"Just like a real meteorologist would, they're letting her know, this is what we're seeing with them storm, this is what we see happening with it," Ramirez said.

Each student had a specific task, for example, zone predictor.

"You list the distance from the storm to the city," student, Andrew Acosta, said."You want to tell your lead meteorologist if you want to set a warning or a watch."

Although it was chaos in the classroom, they caught on quick.

"Weather can change at any moment and as soon as it changes you need to get that data down so people can evacuate and not be in so much danger," student, Sydnee Urias, said.

"I knew it was something that they would really be interested in and they would take and run with it," Ramirez said.

Not just in the classroom but at home too.

"You want to know more about it and how hurricanes and different weather storms are and stuff like that," Acosta said.