Today is National Weatherperson Day, so hug your favorite meteorologist! Well, unless you personally know one, that might be odd, but you can give them some social media love.
Every day they pour through instrument collected data, observation reports, and model simulations to try and let us know how weather might affect our lives. Some specialize in micro-reporting, meaning they give an estimate of what the weather will be like during a two-to-four hour window for a certain event, like a car race or the Super Bowl. A professor of mine told us stories about the pressure as a NASA launch meteorologist, and how he kept a giant jar of antacids in his desk drawer because he ate them like candy.
Other meteorologists watch over a region and determine if atmospheric conditions will favor severe weather development. Their advisories help warn us and in recent years, people have made smart decisions based on them, such as letting schools out early or closing businesses down. We’ve heard stories from “the old days” when a blizzard trapped people who were on their way home, and they had to spend four days in a stranger’s house. While those tales remind us that humanity isn’t all that bad, with today’s technology we can avoid dangerous situations and not have to rely on the kindness of others or the skills of first responders.
All in all, today’s weatherperson does their best to keep us safe even though Mother Nature has a tendency to play by her own rules. It’s this unpredictability that attracts people to the field of meteorology—as well as the really cool clouds.
In Daughter of the South Wind, my main character and her friends embrace the geekdom required to excel in the field of meteorology. While they don’t celebrate this day in the story, I’d like to think that they would have. Many times folks are quick to blame a forecaster for not predicting something in the excessively dynamic atmosphere of our planet and are less likely to say thanks when the weatherperson nails it. For those reasons, Dawn and her friends would have given each other due recognition and toasted their chosen profession while watching the clouds.
You can learn a bit about meteorology and the National Weather Center in Daughter of the South Wind.