The Arizona Thunderstorm Chase (AZTC) program, a cooperative project between the National Weather Service (NWS) in Phoenix and Arizona State University (ASU), uses trained ASU students as mobile observers with real-time communications ability to gather and transmit information concerning thunderstorm conditions within the Phoenix metropolitan area to NWS Phoenix. The AZTC program serves a variety of purposes, including: (a) rapid transmission of real-time observations of severe thunderstorm signatures, resulting in the issuance of more timely severe storm warnings; (b) more immediate assessment of damage patterns common to severe thunderstorms that could also lead to the issuance of severe storm warnings, or confirm the presence of a severe storm in a warned area, thereby aiding the warning verification process; (c) giving university students an innovative field experience in forecasting and measuring movement, intensity, and characteristics of monsoonal thunderstorms in Arizona; (d) collecting on-site research information on the phenomena associated with monsoonal thunderstorms via meteorological measurements and photography in cooperation with national projects; and (e) obtaining thunderstorm activity information and observer products for climatological archives and for interested media groups and the general public.
*Office of Climatology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
+National Weather Service Forecast Office, PAB 500, P.O. Box 52025, Phoenix, AZ.
**National Weather Service Forecast Office, 660 Price Avenue, Redwood City, CA.