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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Thursday afternoon, Governor Bentley cut the ribbon for the University of Alabama Huntsville's SWIRLL building.
The Severe Weather Institute - Radar and Lightning Laboratories is a one of a kind research facility, unlike any other in the nation.
Researchers at the $7 million dollar facility will focus on studying severe weather, from snow storms, to land falling hurricanes, lightning, and of course, tornadoes.
"We set the bar in research once again with this facility," said Mayor Tommy Battle.
Governor Bentley says the SWIRLL facility was on a long list of state priorities to improve understanding, preparedness and response to severe weather events.
"This will help the entire nation," said Bentley. "This the epicenter for severe weather. We have more tornadoes in northern Alabama than just about any part of the country."Leaders in UAH's Atmospheric Science department hope the facility will bring their department national attention, more students, and potentially more grant money.
But they, along with state and North Alabama leaders, know their research will have an even more valuable purpose. It could save lives.