A car crashed through a set of gates and caught fire outside of the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma, late Thursday afternoon, as part of what police are calling a “suspected suicide.” The building is a major nerve center for weather forecasting and research in the United States.
Details about the incident are scarce, but late this afternoon, a vehicle crashed through the gates of a sealed loading dock/parking lot on the east side of the National Weather Center, coming to a stop halfway between the gates and the building before catching fire. KFOR reports that authorities have found a body in the car, and they’re ensuring there are no lingering hot spots before continuing with their investigation.
The area where the vehicle came to a rest appears to contain numerous agency vehicles, including two critically important Dopplers-on-Wheels, which are flatbed trucks with Doppler weather radars attached to them—when deployed, these devices provide critical research and insight into severe weather.
The university’s student newspaper OU Daily quoted a university spokesman as saying that police were investigating the incident as a “suspected suicide,” though it’s unclear if the individual intended to harm just themselves or others in the process.
This post will be updated through the evening as details about the incident come to light.
The National Weather Center is a major hub for meteorology in the United States; sitting on the University of Oklahoma’s campus on the south side of Norman, the center is home to university, state, and federal offices such as the Storm Prediction Center, the National Weather Service office for Oklahoma City, the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and numerous classrooms and offices for the university itself.