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Honors and Awards

NC State Wins North American Meteorology Championship

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting with the WxChallenge team members holding up wolf hands
NC State WxChallenge team members celebrate their championship win on a video call.

A team of student and faculty meteorologists from NC State won a North American forecasting championship this spring that included 50 teams and more than 1,300 forecasters from across the continent.

The WxChallenge competition, run by the University of Oklahoma, starts each fall and continues in the spring, with different forecast sites every two weeks. Teams forecast the maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, and maximum wind speeds for select U.S. cities. NC State’s winning effort edged out the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a perennial powerhouse, which finished second.

The top forecaster on the NC State team was undergraduate meteorology and statistics major Ronak Patel, who finished first in the Junior/Senior category and fourth in the overall. Other team members included graduate and undergraduate students Chase Graham, Malcolm Byron, Katy Hollinger, Trevor Campbell, Robert Van Der Drift and Cruz Medina; postdoctoral researcher Greg Tierney; alumnus Chandlor Jordan; and faculty member Gary Lackmann.

“Routinely trying to predict the future over 20 weeks has definitely been challenging,” Patel said. “Using the wide range of weather data available, we tried our best to keep up with the curveballs Mother Nature threw at us.”

“I enjoyed WxChallenge because it allowed me to practice my forecasting skills while also helping me learn more about different microclimates across the country,” Jordan said.

“The NC State sports teams are great,” Lackmann said. “But when it comes to weather prediction and the WxChallenge, NC State is number one! Go Pack!”

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