A Day in the Shoes of the National Weather Service

DSC00749 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.

DSC00747 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.

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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.

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