Before all the debris had fallen around Moore, Okla., on May 20, storm chasers and weather enthusiasts from the University of Kansas (KU) had already begun figuring out how they could help.  This network of both current and alumni of the Atmospheric Science department and KU Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (KU AMS) will be making a trip to yet another city devastated by a tornado.  In May 2011, the same group traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to provide physical labor to help clean up a heavily damaged neighborhood and donate supplies, clothing, and money to those who needed it most.

An informal network of students and alumni, the KU Stormchasers have intercepted many storms in the past three years including storms that damaged towns like Reading and Harveyville, Kan., providing unparalleled video coverage to national news networks. However, in all the excitement storm chasing can bring, events like Moore, Okla., are hard to fathom. “Storm chasing will always be a passion of mine, but when a tornado like this affects such a large group of people, my hobby can quickly turn into a horror story,” said Prescott Bishop, outgoing president of KU AMS, “Although plenty of people have pitched in to help, supplies and money are obvious needs for this town right now, and KU AMS and KU Stormchasers will be working to get them the assistance they needs as soon as possible.”

In 2011, the students raised more than $3000 to send a group of 12 students to Tuscaloosa with supplies and donations of clothing, non-perishable food, water, bedding, and money. The public is encouraged to support these students by sending whatever donations they can to the KU American Meteorological Society by mail, in person, online, or at any of our upcoming fundraising events.

Visit rockchalktornadorelief.wordpress.com to find out more information about how you can donate and support our efforts.