Local high school students storm research dazzles judges

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T.C. Williams sophomore and budding meteorologist Christopher Gerlach added yet another first place prize and $200 to his name at an invitation-only science fair on Friday. 

Gerlachs research into severe thunderstorms landed him a spot in the competition, organized by the American Meteorological Societys D.C. chapter. Judges included parents, scientists and specialists in the field.

Our goal is to foster their interest in science through interacting with professionals and other students who are interested in the field, said Andrea Bleistein, the chapters chairwoman.

She has high hopes Gerlach will pursue a career in meteorology. He worked closely with their affiliates at the National Weather Forecast Office in Sterling to collect data for his project, Bleistein said.

The lengthy title of Gerlachs project matches the long road of success it has enjoyed: Washington, D.C. Severe Thunderstorm Wind Events: An analysis of Correlated Thermodynamic Convective Parameters and Doppler Radar Signatures.

Gerlachs work earned him the top prize at the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair in Norfolk. From there he traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair where he was awarded first place in the atmospheric and related sciences category. He won $2,000 and the chance to compete in Fridays fair.

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