Summer camp participants learn to issue warnings

Upcoming ninth and tenth graders learned this week it requires more than a degree to be a meteorologist. It takes training in new technologies and computer systems.

“If you walked in on your first day of work, would you know what to do?” asked Jill Hardy. “You may need some training for your job. That’s what we do – we help train forecasters.”

Hardy told the room of nearly 30 high school students that just like athletes, forecasters have to train and practice, too.

Alex Zwink, an OU CIMMS research associate with NOAA WDTD, helps two Oklahoma-area high school students learn how to issue a warning and the process involved at “Mostly Weather with a Chance of Fun.”

To help forecasters, NOAA’s Warning Decision Training Division, with significant involvement from The University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies researchers, hosts a Radar & Applications Course. The purpose of this course it to train newly-hired National Weather Service forecasters on all factors, including the stress involved in issuing warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. During workshops hosted at the National Weather Center in Norman, forecasters receive hands-on practice before heading back to their home offices to issue real warnings.

“Just because you went to school and studied meteorology doesn’t mean you know everything on the first day,” said Hardy, an OU CIMMS research associate with NOAA WDTD. “Ready to issue some warnings?”

Oklahoma-area high school students learned how to issue warnings and the process involved at “Mostly Weather with a Chance of Fun,” a summer program funded by the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education.

Students broke into groups of three and learned how to issue warnings just like trained forecasters, using the same equipment and weather event simulations used in National Weather Service training.

This experience is part of a one-week residential program focused on weather, known as “Mostly Weather with a Chance of Fun.” The camp is hosted by the Oklahoma Mesonet and Climatological Survey and The University of Oklahoma Precollegiate Programs, and funded by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.