About OWL

The Oklahoma Weather Lab (OWL) is a student-run forecasting organization at the University of Oklahoma that is open to students of all majors. OWL is a place where students can learn forecasting and communication techniques for all types of weather from their peers who run shifts as shift leaders. As a student-run organization, OWL is always evolving and is always listening to current students and incoming freshmen to learn what times work for those who are interested in joining OWL. Currently, we run a morning (~8am-9am) and evening (7pm-9pm) shifts on weekdays, and during the weekend we have a Sunday shift that usually starts around 7pm, but in the past shift leaders and attendees can work together to meet at a time that works for most people. OWL also helps students learn about the broadcasting side of forecasting through our partnership with OU Nightly. This partnership allows us to provide students the opportunity to record weather segments like the ones the public can see on news channals which is an invaluable experience that students can us for their future. These recordings happen every weekeday at OU's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

We also have special shifts which focus on topics such as climate, media/broadcasting, and a weekend podcast. The times for these shifts are usually determined yearly and may be connected to other student organizations such as our Media shifts being a partnership with OU Nightly. During the school year OWL also has monthly meetings where we bring in guest speakers to talk about weather forecasting or a recent weather event and explain how forecasting played a role in the event. OWL is very proud of our relationship with the National Weather Service's Warning Decision Training Division (WDTD). This relationship in the past has allowed our members to experience a WDTD Simulation of a severe weather event and issue their own severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, and it is a relationship we plan to continue for years to come.

As OWL enters the 2019-2020 school year and continues to evolve it has become clear that our development branch, Hub of OWL Operational Technology (HOOT), must be revived to continue our growth. HOOT started back in 2004 as the HOOT Project or internally known as the "HOOT Group". the project revamped OWL's website and created products to help our forecasters make better forecasts and access data faster. HOOT became fully integrated into OWL as its development branch in 2007 and became responsible in maintaining OWL's website. However, HOOT slowly declined after launching its own website, which allowed our forecasters access data from different models and the products that HOOT had created throughout the years. 2007-2014 was a calm period for OWL as the hard work of previous members gave OWL stability and a wide range of tools to provide its members with a great forecasting experience. In 2015, the servers that hosted the OWL and HOOT websites were upgraded, however this upgrade caused the two websites to crash. By this time HOOT was a shell of its former self and it lacked the resources to handle such a devastating lost of 10+ years of hard work. As Director of Development, I plan to revive HOOT so OWL will once again have its development team. If you are a student at OU and want to be involved in HOOT please get in contact with me or Deputy Director of Development Amanda Novak.