The Oklahoma Weather Lab, or OWL, is the premier weather forecasting service at the University of Oklahoma, and one of the only wholly student-run forecasting organizations in the nation. Students in the organization are given an unparalleled opportunity to use state-of-the-art forecasting software and modeling to create weather forecasts for the state of Oklahoma, as well as Key West, Florida, and Rogue River, Oregon. OWL members can participate in morning and evening forecast shifts, as well as midday forecast shifts that create forecast briefings for OU’s television station, the OU Nightly. OWL also holds monthly workshops, bringing in speakers that include National Weather Service professionals, television meteorologists, and field-leading researchers to share their knowledge with students in interactive learning experiences. Finally, all of OWL’s executive board is comprised of student volunteers, making OWL’s products truly student-driven — including this very website!
The Hub of OWL Operational Technology, or HOOT, is OWL’s development and technology branch. Through HOOT, students have the unique opportunity to learn and practice programming outside of an academic class, allowing them to explore the real-world benefits of the skills gained through involvement in HOOT. Students involved with HOOT help to maintain the OWL website and develop the products used to create OWL forecasts. In doing so, students gain practical programming experience and learn different ways to apply their skills while also providing valuable and necessary support to the whole OWL organization. With the exceptional guidance of the School of Meteorology IT staff and several dedicated upperclassmen in the meteorology program, HOOT plays a uniquely important role in upholding the student-driven, student-maintained nature of the OWL organization.