February 5th was National Weather Person's Day--a day to recognize individuals in the fields of meteorology, weather forecasting, and broadcast meteorology, as well as volunteer storm spotters and observers. This year, I answer some questions about my favorite type of weather, why I love the weather, and more!
1) What's your favorite kind of weather?
The green hue before a thunderstorm. We rarely get thunderstorm activity out here in California, so that's the neatest part about severe weather that I miss from the Midwest. The green hue in the sky. Well, and hail formation. Obviously, hail is so cool! It gives you a sense of how strong the updrafts are in the thunderstorm cloud. AMAZING! Just think how strong the vertical winds were to suspend a golf ball size hailstone in the cloud! Eventually, the hailstones grow heavier than the updrafts, and they fall to the surface as hail.
2) I'm not a meteorologist; how can I get involved with the meteorology community?
Online weather communities like Weather Underground are where all the weather geeks go to share, discuss, and even brag about their weather data. The AcuRite direct to WU is a great weather station to get your data reporting to wunderground.com easily; simply setup all WU sharing directly from the weather station display! Weather Underground is a great place to see your data on a map and compare your weather data with nearby weather stations in your community. Learn more at Weather Underground.
3) If you could safely experience one weather event/type of event in person, what would it be?
Hurricane strength winds. Those hurricane booths don't do it for me! I've been around some heavy downpours, similar to rainfall seen during tropical storm activity, but I've never experienced the sustained winds of a hurricane or tropical storm. Strong wind gusts are one thing, but sustained hurricane-force winds are another story!
4) What's the most bizarre weather pattern you can recall observing?
When our firstborn was six weeks old, we decided to drive from CA to TX for a friend's wedding. Not only was it historical flooding for the state (Memorial Day 2015), it was also during a severe weather outbreak. While we were headed out of central Texas, we had to decide to either drive A) 200 miles in the wrong direction to get around the huge squall line associated with a mesoscale convective system (MCS), or B) stay the course and punch straight through it. Meteorologists that we are, we tracked the system on the radar, found a weaker area of the squall line, and went for it. After 15 minutes of white knuckle driving through a severe downpour and lightning strikes hitting seemingly within feet of the car, we made it through - with the baby still sound asleep in the back! (See link for a recap of the weather event.)
5) My kid loves clouds, storms, and all things weather! What can I do to keep them engaged in the weather?
I recommend talking about the weather whenever you travel, plan an event, or even get dressed for the day. I talk about the weather, probably every day with my kids. You could also keep a portable anemometer on you at all times so you can talk about the strong winds when you're on a family hike, or the temperature while playing at the park!
Comment below on any other weather questions you have, and share and discuss your favorite weather stories and experiences! Happy National Weather Person's Day!