Each year a group of students and faculty from Virginia Tech depart for the Great Plains in search of severe weather. They come back with an understanding of how severe storms develop, and ways to forecast the threat of severe weather. Tuesday, the first wave of student and faculty chasers left Virginia Tech.

By sunset, they had already reached the Mississippi river. The team of more than a dozen are responsible for forecasting, navigation, radar analysis, communications, online updates, mobile mesonet and documentation of storms. The following are students participating in the May storm chase.

Mario Garza
Clayton Grant
Nick Gilmore
Kayla Jordan
Jeremy Tuck
Kcie Knapp
Samantha Reed
Sammy Kvartunas
Rebecca Fuller
Kaylyn Duda
Matt Bowman
Nick Luchetti
Sam Freeman
Trevor White

WDBJ7 anchor Chris Hurst and photographer Andy May will join the storm chase team for Live and taped coverage from Tornado Alley over the weekend, and early next week. Be sure to check back for exciting blog posts, photos and videos from their trip.