A SWIRLL of excitement at UAHuntsville as new severe weather lab opens

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - UAHuntsville's campus is growing with a new facility that will greatly enhance the university's ability to research severe weather.

After more than a year of construction, the grand opening of SWIRLL is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Thursday. SWIRLL stands for Severe Weather Institute - Radar and Lightning Laboratories.

The $7 million building on Bradford Drive is a direct result of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. A task force, commissioned by Governor Robert Bentley to help the state better prepare for future outbreaks, found Alabama needed a severe weather lab. The governor's office secured a grant to pay for the project at UAHuntsville.

The facility includes a command center from which researchers can direct their mobile research units during severe weather. There is also room to house the mobile units, a weather balloon launch facility and laboratory space.

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