METR 2603: Severe and Unusual Weather

January 15, 2018
T R 6:00-7:20
METR 2603


Lusk, Dylan
Ph.D. Student


Sarkeys Energy Center Room A0235   View map


Spring 2018

METR 2603: Severe and Unusual Weather

Course Syllabus – Spring 2018


Instructor: Dylan Lusk (email:

Grader: TBD

Office Hours: 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM T and Th

Office Location: Sarkeys Basement Atrium (I will only be there during these hours – see below)


Class Location: Sarkeys Energy Center Room A0235

Meeting Time: 6:00 PM to 7:20 PM T and Th


Goals and Objectives:

The topics and framework of this class are designed to help you (1) recognize the importance of climate and weather to your lives; (2) be aware of weather-related hazards; and (3) give you resources to assess and interpret hazardous weather conditions. I want you to be able to think carefully about and understand different weather phenomena and climate extremes that you might see on weather apps, the news, social media, etc.


Required Text: None.

Recommended Text: Severe & Hazardous Weather (4th Edition), Robert M. Rauber, John Walsh, and Donna Charlevoix. This text is not required but can be a useful reference throughout the class. There is a newer edition that has been released, but I am still referencing the older 4th edition that you should be able to find used very easily. Please let me know if you have trouble locating a copy should you want one.


Course Web Page (log on using your 4+4).

Please check Canvas often and regularly for announcements, discussions, new and updated content, and grades. Your homework assignments announced in class will be uploaded into Canvas as well as all class lectures. Your semester long discussion assignment will also be located here.


Questions, Concerns, Comments, and Appointments:

Please use the “General Questions, Concerns, and Comments” discussion board on Canvas to post class-related questions. It’s very likely that other students have the same question as you, so it’s beneficial to get feedback from your classmates! You are also welcome to email me directly with your questions or concerns if you would rather not post them. I will try to reply to emails as quickly as possible, and most questions can be discussed and answered via email. Because my main office is located on south campus in the National Weather Center, I will hold regularly scheduled office hours on main campus in Sarkeys Basement Atrium during the hours listed above. If you wish to see me outside of those hours, you will have to travel down to the National Weather Center to do so. Please contact me ahead of time and set up an appointment for this, as I cannot guarantee that I will be in my office otherwise.



A total of 1000 points may be earned during the course of the semester. Points are divided as follows:

Homework: 300 points

In Class Assignments: 250 points

Discussions Involvement: 100 points

Exams: 350 points


The following standard scale will determine the final grade for the course:

B:80-89%(800-899 points)
C:70-79%(700-799 points)
D:60-69%(600-699 points)
F:< 60%(< 599 points)


Homework (30% of final grade):

There will be 6 homework assignments given during the semester worth 50 points each. The purpose of homework assignments is for students to demonstrate that they can apply the concepts discussed in class to annotate and interpret tables, graphs, weather maps, and other visual aids. Students may work together, however, each student will have to submit their own homework assignments, which must be a representation of their own work. Understand that “working together on an assignment” does not mean copying. Students are welcome to collaborate in small groups but must arrive at their solutions independently, submit their homework assignments independently, and be able to justify their solutions if asked to do so. Copied homework assignments will not receive credit and are considered academic misconduct (which if serious may be reported: see below).  


Homework assignments will be due at the beginning of class on their scheduled due dates. This means you must attend class to deliver the assignment. I will not accept an emailed assignment unless you provide a university excused reason for why you were unable to attend class or have given me prior notification and have received my permission to do so. To facilitate continued review and study, I want to make the homework keys available online as soon as possible. Thus, late homework assignments will only be accepted for credit when accompanied by a University approved excuse that is provided to me (via email) before the relevant homework due date/time or within 12 hours after it’s due. In such cases where an approved excuse is provided within the stated time limits, late homework assignments must be submitted to me via email, within 36 hours after their scheduled due times, in order to be graded for credit. Otherwise, late homework assignments will be assigned a grade of ‘0’.



In Class Assignments (25% of Final Grade):

Lecturing to you for the entirety of every class during the semester is boring for both you and me. Additionally, some of the material I will be teaching is best experienced with real data that you work with, rather than me just showing you a theoretical example on a PowerPoint. To that end, you will be able to earn up to 250 points over the course of the semester from in class assignments. These assignments will not be quizzes, but instead are meant to supplement the lesson as well as potentially connect the pieces between multiple lessons. Generally, I will grade these for effort, not correctness. However, I reserve the right to change that if individuals begin to abuse that policy by not putting effort into these assignments.

Because of these in class assignments, I will not be taking attendance. If you miss an assignment, it will be recorded as a 0 unless I am provided with a university excused absence, or you have cleared your absence with me beforehand and I have made arrangements with you. I understand that the unexpected happens: traffic is bad, parking is a nightmare, or you just don’t feel well today. Because of this, I will drop your 2 lowest of these grades. Use these at your own discretion.


Discussion assignments (10% of Final Grade):

            You will be able to earn up to 100 points from participating in two simple discussion assignments during the semester. During the first part of the semester, you must post at least two weather-related question under the “Post & Respond to a Weather-Related Topic” discussion topic in Canvas. You will get 20 points as long as your question is weather related! During the second part of the semester, you must respond to at least four questions that other students posted on this discussion topic during the first part of the semester. You will get up to 80 points total (20 points per response) based on the correctness and quality of your response. Included in your response must be a citation for where you found your information. The Canvas discussion board is a great way for us to communicate with each other and gain a deeper understanding of the weather. If nothing else, reading and responding to questions will help you prepare for homework assignments, quizzes, and the final exam in this class!


Exams (35% of Final Grade):

You will have 3 exams over the course of the semester: 2 regular exams that will be worth 100 points each (10% of your final grade each) and a final exam that will be worth 150 points (15% of your final grade). The first two exams will cover sections of the material covered in class as well as in class assignments and homeworks. The final exam is cumulative, and any topic covered in lectures, homeworks, and in class assignments will be fair game. The first two exams will be held during class time, so you will have the allotted class time to complete the exam. The final exam will be during the slotted time during exam week in our usual meeting spot, and you will have the full time to complete it.


You will not be allowed any outside materials on your exams. No cheat sheets, no books, no notecards, no anything besides a pencil and a calculator if you feel so inclined. As you will read below, I take cheating very seriously. If you are caught cheating during an exam, I will publicly make it known and immediately ask you to leave the room. See the academic misconduct policy below for additional actions which will be taken against you.


Statement on absences due to religious holidays:

It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of quiz, homework, exam, and/or discussion due dates that fall due on religious holidays. Any student who has one of these commitments fall on a religious holiday: Please contact me via email no later than one week prior to the due date/time so that we can make alternative arrangements.


Reasonable Accommodation:

The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities who require accommodation in this course are requested to speak with me as early in the semester as possible.  Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations in this course.  The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 325-3852 or TDD only 325-4173.


Academic Misconduct:

            I take all forms of cheating very seriously. I have zero tolerance for it. Cheating is a waste of your time and mine. Punishment can range from a zero on the assignment, to a zero in the course, to even being forced to take (and pay for) a special class that teaches you about plagiarism and other forms of cheating. Extreme cases can even result in expulsion. Please don’t cheat. It simply isn’t worth it.


All provisions of the Norman Campus Academic Misconduct Code shall apply in cases of academic dishonesty.  Academic misconduct is defined as “any act that improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement.”  At the University of Oklahoma, academic integrity is expected from each student.  Misconduct such as plagiarism, fabrication, and fraud, as well as attempting to commit such acts or assisting others in doing so, will not be tolerated.  Students are responsible for knowing the OU Academic Conduct Code, which can be found at and