Meteorology intern will help agency respond rapidly to storms330px-I15storm3With weather updates important to traffic flow and the safety of motorists, an innovative partnership between the Arizona Department of Transportation and Arizona State University will provide real-time forecasts to those managing our highways.

Beginning in January, a meteorology graduate student from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning will work as an intern in ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center, helping crews respond rapidly to winter storms and other weather challenges to clear highways and potentially prevent closures.

“This is an exciting step forward for public safety,” said Brent Cain, assistant director for ADOT’s Transportation Systems Management & Operations division. “This will allow us to have better information about weather conditions so we can more quickly determine how to deploy our crews and communicate with the public. All of that will make Arizona roads safer.”

Randy Cerveny, ASU President’s Professor in the School of Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning, said the setup also will allow top students to experience how meteorology can provide service to people in many areas.

“Most people only think of meteorologists on television, but by far most meteorologists work in settings like this one,” Cerveny said. “This is a real-world, real-time application of meteorology in a way that can help people all across Arizona.”

Paul Panhans, a first-year meteorology student and U.S. Air Force veteran, will begin working with ADOT in January. He said his experience interning with the National Weather Service will allow him to work closely with that agency.

“I will liaise with the National Weather Service and add in my own work to provide ADOT with the best possible weather forecasting,” Panhans said. “I expect to be able to help with such things as visibility, wind and freezing precipitation.”

For more information about ASU, visit asu.edu.

For more information about ADOT, visit azdot.gov.

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