It seemed almost everyone in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, knew Adam Clayton was interested in the weather. He was on the local radio during severe weather events. He grew up glued to the Weather Channel.
So, perhaps, it wasn’t that unexpected when one of his mother’s co-workers mentioned she had a son studying meteorology at UAH.
They do that at UAH?
Well, yes, in fact, they do. A visit to campus later — including a side trip to the SWIRLL construction site — and all thoughts of schools in Kentucky and Mississippi were forgotten.
It seems to be working out so far for Clayton. A sophomore in Earth system science, Clayton and graduate student Tony Lyza won first place in the recent von Braun Memorial Symposium’s poster competition for their work probing a 2014 storm that dropped 29 tornadoes over northern Illinois and Indiana.
“I looked at 2 areas of rotation that produced about half of those tornadoes,” Clayton said. “The big thing we found was how deep these areas of rotation were, since that kind of thing in a QLCS (quasi-linear convective system) is usually not as tall as they are in regular convective storms.
“One of those areas of rotation went up about 9 kilometers, which is pretty unheard of for a QLCS.”
After finishing his ESS degree, Clayton plans to enter graduate school, then go to work for the National Weather Service.