For the first session of the 2010 Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference in Des Moines, IA, we all got a taste of what it’s like to work at the National Weather Service. Some guys far more intelligent than me took a monster severe weather outbreak from a couple years ago, and simulated it over the state of Iowa.
Our job? to act as the National Weather Service and issue watches and warnings. It was a fast paced tutorial because a three hour event was compressed into a 90 minute session. On my computer, I issued 48 warnings for the storms.
It was chaotic and fast paced. I shared a table with Justin Gehrts and Josh Baynes, but we were all on different teams (can’t help but have a little competition). In the end, we were graded based on the accuracy of our warnings based on storm reports, and graded on the size of the warnings we issued.
This exercise really gave us a feel of how fast paced of a job it is for the National Weather Service to monitor dozens of counties during a major severe weather outbreak. It is a job I’m certainly not envious of and am glad to get the experience of spending a day, or at least an hour or two, in their shoes.