MADISON (WKOW) -- Early prediction is everything when it comes to getting people out of a storm's path. UW-Madison meteorologists are using early models of Superstorm Sandy's path for better education.
Even early last week, the UW Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) Department was already tracking Sandy. Researchers provided critical information to help emergency crews and families prepare for the worst on the East Coast.
"To be able to make a contribution to that huge effort, assisting in the relocation or alerting of 75, maybe 80, million people is a great feeling," says AOS Chair and Professor Jon Martin.
Now, as the storm breaks up, Martin is using the research to help future scientists better understand the unique storm's characteristics, incorporating Sandy into classroom discussions.
For students, seeing Sandy develop over the past week is more beneficial than studying historic storms.
"When you see something happening in real time, you have the complete media perspective, you have the complete social perspective, you've got a combination of all these different data sources that just didn't exist in the past," says AOS grad student Kyle Griffin.
Advanced prediction is even more essential for Griffin, whose family lives near Washington, D.C. He was able to help them prepare for what was to come their way, because of the accurate storm prediction at UW.
Martin says studying Sandy is a unique way of learning in the lab with a real-life, modern situation.
"To be able to walk out of the class and realize they can say some really intelligent things that only a few people around the country know about this storm, I think fills them with a great sense of accomplishment," says Martin.