Above: Current Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) & Below: Little Rock, Arkansas Time (CTZ)
To: Any and All UCA Students
Desiring To Pursue An Internship With The News 4 Storm Team.
From: Damon C. Poole, II -
News 4 Storm Team Intern, Spring Semester 2000.
Regarding - Helpful
information for potential interns:
So, you think you want to try
your hand at interning in a TV Weather Department. Cool! If you
apply and are accepted, you are in for one of the most exciting
and fun internship opportunities there is in local broadcasting.
If you are honestly interested in trying to outguess mother
nature, working with top of the line weather equipment, and,
helping local Broadcast Meteorologists do their job, in a laid-back
atmosphere (no pun intended), then, this type of internship is
By this time, you might be
wondering what classes you need to take in order to be successful.
In addition to the Mass Communications requirements for gaining
entry into the internship class, (SPTA 1310, MCOM 1300, 1334,
1362, 1363 AND 2366), I also recommend taking as many Geography
classes as possible to help build your scientific background.
In broadcast meteorology, a
broad background in meteorology, or closely related earth
sciences is extremely desirable. Although not required for the
actual weather internship at Channel 4, if you want to pursue
employment in the Broadcast Meteorology field, such a scientific
background is imperitive, and my 39 hour Geography Minor has proven very
helpful during the internship. One thing I found out from both
Ned Perme and Barry Brandt, is that KATV Channel 7 requires its
weather interns to have at least a year of meteorology completed
before they even talk to you. So, if you want to try a weather
internship, try Channel 4, because they will give you a chance if
you've got an interest, with or without a weather background.
Helpful UCA Geography classes
I have taken are as follows; these make up 30 of my 39 minor hours. Descriptions are from UCA Geography Course Descriptions Website. At UCA, the second number tells how many hours credit the class is worth.
1315 INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY: Required for majors and minors in geography, majors in environmental science, and minors in geographic information science. In a lecture and discussion format, this course is a topical assessment of the spatial diversity of the natural environment, including landforms, weather and climate, soils, vegetation, and water, along with their significance in terms of human occupation of the earth. 3 hours credit.
1315 INTRODUCTION TO
2345 GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION TECHNIQUES: A lower-division elective. The course, via lectures, class discussions, and laboratory exercises, enhances students' knowledge and understanding of geography, geographic information, and the various techniques geographers employ as they collect, store, manage, analyze, and display geographic data or information. 3 hours credit.
2375 CARTOGRAPHY: Required of geography majors and minors and those students minoring in geographic information science. Cartography today revolves around the study of the theory, science, and technology behind the production of maps and spatial databases. This computer lab-oriented, exercised-based course instructs students on cartograhic design and convention, the construction of reference and thematic maps using mapping software, and the collection and classification of geographic data for mapping. 3 hours credit.
3333 GEOGRAPHY OF NATURAL HAZARDS: An upper-division elective. This course uses a lecture and discussion format in identifying geomorphic and atmospheric phenomena (e.g., floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes) that represent real hazards to the population. Human responses to the various natural hazards are assessed and common adjustments identified. 3 hours credit.
3351 WEATHER AND CLIMATE: An upper-division elective. This course uses a lecture and discussion format in the identification and assessment of atmospheric processes. Weather variables are investigated, the components and procedures of the daily weather forecasts are described, and the world's climates analyzed. 3 hours credit.
3361 GEOGRAPHY OF LANDFORMS: An upper-division elective. Using a lecture and laboratory format, this course examines the landforms of the earth's surface including those resulting from diastrophism, volcanism, plate tectonics, weathering, mass movement, running water, karst, glacial ice, periglacial environments, wind, and breaking waves. 3 hours credit.
3380 GEOGRAPHY OF ARKANSAS: An upper-division elective. The course, through lectures and class discussions, examines the physical and human geography of the state of Arkansas. Topics include landforms, weather, climate, settlement, poverty, politics, agriculture, and lumbering, among others. 3 hours credit.
4304 WATER RESOURCES: An upper-division elective. This course uses a lecture and discussion format to provide detail on the occurrence, distribution, and movement of water on and beneath the earth's surface and the integration of water into human activities, e.g., flooding, drainage, irrigation, power, navigation, water supplies, and water pollution. 3 hours credit.
4308 OCEANOGRAPHY: An upper-division elective. Employing a lecture /discussion /visual presentations format, this course is an introduction to oceanic environments, distribution, ocean basin topography, physical and biological characteristics, marine climate, currents, ecology, and politics. Emphasis is on the oceanic physical environment and natural resources. 3 hours credit.
4330 GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION ANALYSIS: An upper-division elective and a requirement for geographic information science minors. This is an advanced-level course in GIS. It provides an understanding of analysis in GIS environment, knowledge of GIS design and implementation, an insight into spatial variability and geostatistics, and an experience in error propagation analysis within GIS. Emphasis of lectures and practical lab exercises is placed on problem-solving GIS techniques such as layering, networking, buffering, and querying. Environmental modeling and decision support system creation in real-life research projects executed by students is also an objective of this course. 3 hours credit. Total Weather Related Geography Credit is 30 hours.
I also took 23 hours in Physical Science Electives In Astronomy, Earth Science, Geology, & Oceanography, at Garland County Community College-National Park Community College: Descriptions are from GCCC/NPCC Catalogues. The last number in each class title tells how many credit hours the class was worth.
ESCI 1104 EARTH SCIENCE: - Provides the student with a survey of the earth, including concepts from geology, astronomy, meteorology, plate tectonics, and physical geography. 4 hours credit.
ESCI 2254 OCEANOGRAPHY: - Provides the student with a broad survey of the ocean sciences, fundamental concepts of the biological, chemical, geological, and physical processes of the sea and air-sea interactions. 4 hours credit
ESCI 1153 ASTRONOMY: - This course introduces the student to the concepts of the Solar System, Stars, Galaxies, Clusters, the Universe and Cosmology, as well as the physics, chemistry, and biology by which these operate. 3 hours credit.
GEOL 1104 PHYSICAL GEOLOGY: - Introduces the student to the field of physical geology in general, such as the geologic environment, geologic processes shaping the surface of the earth, plate tectonics, crust, and the interior of the earth. 4 hours credit.
GEOL 1114 HISTORICAL GEOLOGY: - Interpretation of the earth's history, origin of the earth, evolutions of the continents and oceans, geologic time, and evolution of life. Fossils, rocks, and geologic maps are studied in the laboratory. 4 hours credit.
GEOL 1504 ARKANSAS GEOLOGY: - This course includes a brief study of physical and historical geology concepts with the main emphasis of the course on the physical and historical geological aspects of the six physiographic divisions of Arkansas. Those divisions are Ozark Plateau/ Arkansas Valley, Ouachita Mountains, Gulf Coast, Mississippi Embayment, Crowley's Ridge, and the New Madrid Fault zone. 4 hours credit. Total elective credit 23 hours.
Also, it would be helpful if you have a good background in computer or information sciences.
Other ways to build skills in
meteorology might include taking a National Weather Service
Skywarn Storm Spotter course. Also, check with KCON and KUCA to
see if you might be able to do some on-air news or weather duties.
Also, don't forget Channel Six with NewsSix and UCA Today for TV news experience. Working in radio is also an excellent way to get familiar with National Weather Service wire products. Finally, if you are able to, join a professional meteorological organization such as the National Weather
Association, or the American Meteorological Society. Also, there
is a joint chapter of both organizations that meets monthly at
the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. For more local
chapter information, see the Arkansas Chapter of the American
Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association website.
There are several types of experience that I gained through this internship. First, I gained
experience with Baron Fastrac & VIPIR doppler weather radar
software. This involved the use of an actual 350,000 watt Baron Doppler Radar..(4-Warn Live), with NWS Nexrad Doppler Weather Radar integrated through the VIPIR system. Additionally, the second type of experience I have gained is that of being taped in front of a chromakey giving a practice round of weathercasts. The
first time I did this, it was nerve-racking, but once I got used
to it, and my nervousness subsided it was quite fun. Not only
will I have a demo tape for job purposes, but also valuable
experience at something I had never done before. The Following is that single weathercast demo tape: Above: This is my demo weathercast at the Channel 4 Weather Wall, when KARK-TV was located in the Former Bank Vault @ 3rd & Louisiana, in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was taped on Friday, April 14, 2000, at 7 p.m. I did this as part of a Weather Internship, just a few weeks before I graduated from UCA. The weathercast did not air. You can hear all the um's and uh's, as this is a totally unscripted demo weathercast. This was simply me ad-libbing with Meteorologist Michelle Leigh's graphics. So, what is my overall evaluation of the News 4 Weather Department, and the internship
experience? Very positive and extremely valuable! I honestly can't
say enough positive things about it. To simply say it's been
a blast just doesn't begin to fully describe it. I have been
putting my skills to work doing things I have always enjoyed, and
working with people who genuinely are as friendly and personable
as they seem to be on camera. Meteorologists Michelle Leigh, and, John Champion, have both been excellent mentors and co-workers, and have taught me quite a lot that I can use in my career.
Above: This is my demo weathercast at the Channel 4 Weather Wall, when KARK-TV was located in the Former Bank Vault @ 3rd & Louisiana, in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was taped on Friday, April 14, 2000, at 7 p.m. I did this as part of a Weather Internship, just a few weeks before I graduated from UCA. The weathercast did not air. You can hear all the um's and uh's, as this is a totally unscripted demo weathercast. This was simply me ad-libbing with Meteorologist Michelle Leigh's graphics.
In closing, whatever career
path or internship you choose, my best advice to you is to begin
to build your skills up in class as early as you can, and show
the professional sponsors what you're made of. If you do
this, and show an honest interest in what you're doing, they'll
bend over backwards to try to help you. Not only will you have a
positive experience, you'll have a blast doing it. That's
as important as getting college credit, or pay in any internship.
Thanks for reading this, and best of luck at whatever you decide
Broadcast Meteorology From An Intern's View A Reflective
Report By Damon Poole
During the past 16 weeks I
have had the great pleasure of working as a weather intern with
the KARK-TV News 4 Storm Team. The entire staff has been
absolutely wonderful in being open and supportive. Like any other
actual job, there are daily ups and downs, but I am pleased to
say that my experience at Channel 4 has been an extremely
positive and very highly beneficial one. Working with, and
shadowing meteorologists Michelle Leigh, and John Champion, on a
twice weekly basis has been an absolute blast!
Meteorology has long been a
passion of mine, and having the chance to meet and work with
these two professionals has been nothing but an enhancement to my
learning experience. A typical day would begin around 1:30 or 2:00
p.m. and end around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m., sometimes later,
especially during severe weather. Mostly my job has been
consisted of shadowing and observing, but I also tried to help
when and where I could, and was asked to. This type of laid-back
atmosphere made the experience fun. Normally, I would start by
checking to see what Michelle or John are doing, and where they
need help the most. Usually, when I have been called upon to help,
it would involve gathering and analyzing weather data.
A typical weathercast starts
by pulling up the latest charts from the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center (WPC) either from their
internet site, or from a machine called Metline. The maps, called progs, show the positions of fronts, highs, lows, precipitation,
etc. The major features of the maps for this evening, and
tomorrow night, at the same time, are drawn on a paper worksheet.
From there, Michelle or John would take my drawings on the
worksheet, and redraw them on a machine called genesis, which in
turn, prepares the weather graphics presentation used on the air.
Another source of information
we used, is the numerical model output statistics or MOS, from computer models. The three main models we used most frequently are the North American Mesoscale (NAM) Model , the Aviation Model (MAV), (both of which project out to 72 hours in advance), and the Global Forecast System Extended (GFS-MEX), which projects out to seven days. From this output, came the daily high and low temperature forecasts, and precipitation probability forecasts for Little Rock. These numbers are compared with the National Weather Service (NWS) Zone Forecasts, and Area Forecast Discussion, then adjusted by the weathercaster to come up with the forecast used on the air. This was a very fun part of the job. On a normal day without severe weather, this process can take about 2 hours. The
bulk of this is spent waiting for the Weather Service products to
be issued, and graphics presentations to be rendered. For the 5
and 6 PM newscasts, this is usually done by 4:30. If severe
weather is occurring, the Storm Prediction Center is also closely monitored for the latest watches and discussions.
As far as new skills and
knowledge gained are concerned, there are two things I would list.
First, I got the chance to work with an actual Baron Services
television doppler weather radar, with Fastrac software (a.k.a. 4-Warn
Live), and, a brand new piece of technology related to it called
VIPIR. I have had a lot of experience interpreting doppler
weather radar pictures over the years, but this marked my first
hands-on exposure to working at an actual doppler workstation.
The VIPIR system integrates doppler weather radar data from the
National Weather Service, and creates a display for the
television doppler. It allows a weathercaster to show 3-dimensional
views of storms from all angles as seen by nearby NEXRAD sites.
This allows a weathercaster the capability to show live displays
of winds inside severe thunderstorms and alert the public to
damaging straight line winds, tornadoes, and large hailstones. It
allows viewers to see severe storms more clearly than was
The second type of new skills
and experience I gained was with the chromakey display. In fact,
I have a tape containing a mock weathercast, that I can use for
audition purposes. All the aforementioned weather information is
translated into slides and notes that the weathercaster can use
on the air. The slides are presented on a machine called a
chromakey display where the weathercaster stands in front of a
green wall which is not visible to viewers on the air. The
chromakey display is overlayed with the image of the
weathercaster pointing to the displayed maps. The maps and charts
are also projected on monitors located on either side of the
green wall, and in the camera so that the weathercaster can see
the display and maintain eye contact with the camera.
Another part of the intern's
job is to take phone calls when the weathercaster is busy or out
of the office. Usually, viewers call in to talk about severe
weather, comment on the weathercaster's wardrobe, or just
ask weather related questions. Sometimes, people call in to
complain about interruptions in programming due to severe weather,
but mostly, the callers are just in need of someone to reassure
them and to find out what is going on. Also, a weather intern
might sometimes be called upon to help answer e-mail and other
correspondance. Once, I got to help answer a viewer's
question about the rain equivalent of snowfall amounts. Another
fun part was helping to do research on things like Daylight
Savings Time, and, taking notes at a meeting of the local
American Meteorological Society - National Weather Association
chapter meeting on tornadoes.
So, how does it all relate to
my academic studies? This internship has allowed me the chance to
put not only my mass communication, and geography studies, but
also my meteorological background to work in a professional
setting. It is one thing to take classes, and to do co-curricular
work in student radio and television, but to have the opportunity
to see what really goes on behind the scenes, and take part in
helping create what goes on-air in a professional setting is
priceless. This, I would say is the most valuable part of the
overall experience for me. What was the least valuable part of
the experience for me? That's a tough question, I don't
really think there was one. There are so many positives with this
past 16 weeks it's impossible to try and find one. As I said
before, I've had a blast! Thanks a million to the News 4
Storm Team, for a great time!
My Journal -
Introduction - For the past 16 weeks, beginning Wednesday January,
26th and ending this past Wednesday, May 3, 2000, I have been
working as a student weather intern with KARK-TV News 4. During
the internship, my duties have included learning how to draw
weather maps on a deadline, shadowing and observing
Meteorologists Michelle Leigh and John Champion, answering
telephone calls and occasional e-mail, assisting with gathering
and analysis of weather data, and assisting with occasional
research, as needed, for the 5 and 6 pm weathercasts, and
providing other production assistance as needed.
As far as my expectations
going into the internship class, I had always hoped and expected
to do something related to broadcast meteorology. After applying
with KATV, Channel 7, and going through what turned into a
nightmarish run around which would only have resulted in a
newsroom assignment, a most fortunate turn of events came to pass.
My papers were lost in the shuffle at KATV. Well, about a week
after I had just about given up on the whole thing, UCA Career
Services called me up and told me that Channel 4 had been trying
to contact me. I called them back, and within a week, everything
was ready to go. During the last few weeks my expectations have
been exceeded time and again. What you are about to read is a
capsule log of my adventures at Channel 4.
Entry 1 - Wednesday, January
26, 2000. 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. I arrived early and checked in. Met
several of the reporters and other staff. Toured the newsroom and
set where weather office is located. Everyone here is very
friendly, warm, and personable. Michelle Leigh had to cancel due
to a promo shoot and an on-coming snowstorm which was due on the
28th. We rescheduled for Wednesday the 2nd of February.
Entry 2 - Wednesday, February
2, 2000. 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. Finally met Michelle Leigh. She is
extremely nice. Most of the time is spent discussing weather
operations at KARK. My first duties were answering an e-mail,
regarding the water equivalency of snowfall amounts and how they
are measured. Also began drawing weather maps on paper for
Michelle to translate into the Genesis Weather Graphics computer.
Watched 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. All in all a very good start.
Entry 3 - Friday, February 4,
2000. 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. Assisted gathering and analysing numerical
weather data from computer models and weather wire. Drew
prognostic charts on worksheet for Michelle. Began learning about
4-Warn Live Doppler Weather Radar. Answered several phone calls.
Explained to Michelle about Grenwich Mean Time and how it relates
to Central Standard Time. We also discussed various aspects of
weathercaster certification. Having a blast so far.
Entry 4 - Wednesday, February
9, and Friday, February 11, 2000. 2:00 - 7:00 p.m. Basically
continued more of the same duties. Continued to observe, answer
phone calls, and assist with basic forecasting work. Also became
more familiar with 4-Warn Live Doppler Weather Radar. Whoever
said time flies when you're having fun knew their stuff!
Entry 5 - Wednesday February
16, 2 p.m, - 7 p.m., and Thursday, February 17, 2000. 12:30 p.m.
to 8:30 p.m. Severe Weather looked likely for 2/17. Performed
normal duties on Wednesday. Came in on Thursday instead of Friday
to assist with possible Severe Weather. When I arrived, Mike
Nicco, meteorologist for the Sunrise show, invited me to come in
some morning and observe. The National Weather Service
Storm Prediction Center(SPC)'s outlooks, and computer model
data indicated a late night or morning start on Friday the 18th
over Western Arkansas. John Champion also came in to assist
Michelle as well. He also went into the models and confirmed our
suspicions. I stayed until 8:30 and answered phone calls from
viewers who wanted to know when storms would strike.
Entry 6 - Wednesday, 2-23,
and, Friday, 2-25, 2000. More severe weather this week. On
Wednesday, I arrived at 1 p.m. Although the Storm Prediction
Center had the western 2/3's of Arkansas outlooked for
severe weather, the majority of the storms actually fired in the
Southeast half of the state. The flow of Severe Thunderstorm
Warnings was pretty steady between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Around 4:30,
John Champion and I watched one storm on 4-Warn Live doppler
radar, as it produced a suspicious rotation in Lincoln County. We
were both wondering when the National Weather Service would issue
a TOR - (Tornado Warning), we continued to watch. In about 10
minutes time, the rotation, called a mesocyclone, developed a
well defined hook echo, which looked like a backwards 9. Around 4:45
p.m., North Little Rock weather finally issued a Tornado Warning
for Arkansas County. Michelle did a cut-in. The storms moved out
and broke up around 5:30. I left around 6:00 p.m. for the day.
Total hours for Wednesday, 5.
On Friday, 2-25, I arrived at
1:00 p.m.. Mike Nicco was working on hand creating a Tornado
Watch map for the Omni-Alert warning system which had a minor
glitch. Fortunately, with the help of Baron's Technical
Support, the problem was quickly fixed. Once the watch map was
taken care of, Michelle and I kept a watch on things. We mainly
checked the Storm Prediction Center website, and National Weather
Service websites in Little Rock and Tulsa, as well as the weather
wire, and doppler radar and satellite photos. Additionally,
Michelle had a few phone calls while she got her show ready.
During this time, a few SVR's (Severe Thunderstorm Warnings)
came out in Western Arkansas. Next, I helped Michelle prepare a
paper map of the Tornado Watch, to go to the Graphics Department
for preparation as an ESS graphic for the 5:00 show.
Around 5:30 p.m. a new severe
thunderstorm warning was issued for Garland County. During the 6:00
show, I got coffee for Steve Barnes and Betsy Pilgrim. At 6:30 p.m.
an SPS - (Special Weather Statement) was issued to cancel the
Tornado Watch. I stayed until 7:00 p.m. and got a brief lesson on
creating and deleting radar loops for 4-Warn Live.
Entry 7 - Week of March 1 to
March 3, 2000. Michelle got sick on 3/1 and I worked with John
Champion on 3/2 and 3/3. Continued normal duties on 3/01 and 3/03.
Had severe weather threaten on 3/02. On 3/02 I arrived at 1:00 p.m.
Scattered severe thunderstorms developed in Oklahoma, Texas, and
Louisiana. A cell near Mena showed rotation with a Tornado Warning
issued. Numerous severe thunderstorm warnings were issued between
3:00 and 9:00 p.m. when I left. Hours worked this week 19.
Semester total to date - 65.
Entry 8 - Week of March 8 and
10, 2000. Normal duties and hours this Wednesday March 8. We
began discussing the employment application process, and making a
On Friday March 10, a Severe
Thunderstorm Watch was in effect for extreme south Arkansas. No
problems were reported in Arkansas, although a few warnings were
issued in South Central and Southeast Arkansas. Most of the
action went to Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.
Otherwise, I assisted Michelle as needed. We tentatively
scheduled a taping session for the week of March 15, if weather
Entry 9 - Week of March 15
and 17. Due to unforseen circumstances, taping did not occur this
week. This week was primarily spent observing and getting
acquainted with VIPIR, a doppler weather radar algorithm that
takes incoming National Weather Service NEXRAD doppler weather
radar products, and gets them ready to be displayed on the air.
On Wednesday, Michelle was getting ready to leave on a much
needed break out of town. I worked my normal 5 hours, 1-6 p.m.
assisting her as best I could.
On Friday, John Champion and
I worked with Jeremy Jewell, a reporesentative of Baron Services,
who briefed us on the workings of VIPIR. My first impression with
VIPIR is amazement. It was like a kid waiting on Christmas Eve
waiting to attack the tree. The only problems were that the
system froze from time to time, and, Jewell left no instruction
booklet for VIPIR.
Entry 10 - Week of March 23
and March 25. This was the week when I shot my first audition
tape at the chromakey. It began on Wednesday with normal duties
and observation. I also spent Wednesday briefing Michelle on what
I knew about VIPIR. The date was set for Friday March 24, to do a
On Friday March 24, I arrived
at 2:30 p.m. and observed until the 6:30 hour. At which time the
chromakey was readied, the camera shot was established, and I
took 66 1/2 minutes of takes. Some good, some bad, and some worse.
My nerves were tight. So tight, I could've easily given Al
Gore stiff lessons. (No pun intended.) The sensation of being on
camera was like taking the driven part of the drivers license
test with the cop sitting next to me waiting for a screw-up.
However, as I went through it, the shear terror slowly evaporated.
I was relieved that the first session was over. Now, I could sit
down and work on improving techniques and developing my schtick.
I finally left around 8:00.
Entry 11 - Week of Wednesday,
March 29, and Friday, March 31. On Wednesday, I arrived around 2:00
p.m. This was a day spent observing and allowing my nerves to
take a rest. It was also a day spent working severe weather with
4-Warn Live and VIPIR. Severe weather watches and warnings
flying regularly for hailstorms in Arkansas. The worst weather
was in Texas and Louisiana. About 4:30, I began tracking a
tornadic supercell in Northeast Texas which, at first, appeared
to be headed towards Texarkana. Rotation was very evident as
VIPIR shear markers were numerous. Fortunately, the storm stayed
south of the border. I left around 6:30 as the storms calmed down
for the night, but not before setting aside time on Friday to
view the tape.
On Friday, I arrived around 1:30,
and started the day watching the DVC-PRO tape of my chromakey
practice. The results weren't as bad as I originally thought,
but there were still many miles of room left fot improvement. Eye
contact was fine, but I listed what I called my 10 deadly sins,
or items for improvement. My other duties included helping
Michelle research daylight savings time, as this was the weekend
it took affect. I finally left for the day at 6:30 p.m.
Entry 12 - Week of Wednesday
April 5, and Friday April 7. On Wednesday, Michelle was getting
ready to shoot a promo when I arrived. I observed this and also
got a chance to take a look at the VIPIR operator's manual.
Otherwise, I carried on my normal duties from 2-6 p.m. A very
routine day, but Friday would be different!
Friday April 7 - Michelle
went out of town for a couple of days. This meant I worked with
John Champion today. Today would be very interesting for several
reasons. To begin with, the day started with the first of 2
severe thunderstorm watches issued around 1:30 when I arrived. To
add to the problem, the Storm Warn machine, which generates the
watch and warning maps used on the air, had to be reset. As a
result, John had to manually redraw the watch map twice.
Naturally, he quite understandably was frustrated with this, but
we got through the problem quickly. Another problem soon
developed. This one was an outage of the NOAA Weather Wire system,
which lasted a couple of hours (between 3:30 and 5:30). We first
noticed it when a viewer called in to say that none of the tv
stations (4, 7, or 11), had warnings displayed. In fact, the
viewer reported that the only warnings that were going out were
through the Emergency Alert System, on FOX 16 and UPN-38.
The EAS is activated by NOAA
Weather Radio warning broadcasts which are carried live over
participating stations. We called Renee Fair, Meteorologist In
Charge of the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. She
told us that there indeed was a problem, and that a backup system
was being set-up, namely faxing the warnings to the newsroom.
This system did work, but it was agonizingly slow since the
newsroom fax machine was busy, and, the forecasters at North
Little Rock were also busy. Enter our secondary backup - NOAA
Weather Radio, via my pocket scanner.
Not only were the warnings
faster, but they were more reliable. By 5:30, the Weather Wire
was restored, and the latest warnings were quickly resent. Within
the next hour, a new watch was issued further east and south of
the original one, as a thin, but active squall line approached. 4-Warn
Live and VIPIR continued to show occasional severe hail, and more
warnings crossed the wire several times through 6:30 p.m. When I
finally left around 7:p.m., the storm hit Little Rock. It brought
a nice rainfall, and a beautiful lightning show for the drive
home. Thus ending a hectic but fun 5 1/2 hour day.
Entry 13 - Week of Wednesday
April 12, and Friday April 14. This Wednesday was rainy but quiet.
We confirmed my 2nd taping date for Friday, April 14. I continued
my normal duties and observed from 2 - 6 p.m. or for 4 hours.
Grand Total 117 1/2 hours. On this Friday, it was taping day. I
arrived at 2:00 p.m., prepared maps, and interpreted data as
usual until 5:30, when I took a dinner break until 6:00 p.m..
Between 6:30 and 7:45, I taped. This time it was much easier and
more comfortable. Even though there was some stumbling, it went
much better this time. Michelle asked me to make notes at the AMS-NWA
chapter meeting scheduled for Tuesday the 18th. Which I was glad
Entry 14 - Week of Wednesday,
April 19 and Friday April 21. Severe Weather was a threat this
week of Easter Sunday. Once again Michelle took some comp time
off, and I worked with John Champion. I delivered the notes I
made for Michelle, and John asked for a copy, which I gladly
allowed him to make. I also gave one to Mike Nicco. The day
Wednesday was mainly spent assessing the severe weather risk for
Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. The hours I worked Wednesday were
2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. or (4 1/2 hours). On Friday, we monitored
for severe weather from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Entry 15 - Week of Wednesday
April 26, and Friday April 28. Michelle is back. On Wednesday I
arrived at 2:00 and reviewed the second taping. The lengths were
a minute and a half too-long. Instead of a 3:30 sec. maximum, my
best one went 5:02 sec. After making some notes and observations,
we scheduled another taping session for Friday the 28th. I left
On Friday, I arrived at 2:00.
After going through the maps and normal preparations, we taped at
6:30. This time it went much more smoothly. In fact, we even got
the first cut for my demo tape. The only problems with it were
that I pointed to the extended outlook, and my head tilted to the
left on occasion, but it worked, and it was a start. We scheduled
another taping session for Wednesday the 3rd of May, and at 8:30
I left. It was a long 6 and 1/2 hours.
Entry 16 - Wednesday May 3.
Arrived at 3:00 p.m. and observed until 5. Took a dinner break at
5:30. Arrived back at 6 and watched the news. Taping started at 6:45
and went to about 7:50. My poise and delivery were good, but the
suit didn't want to cooperate. Had to repeatedly adjust my
shirt sleeves. Despite all this, we got cut #2, a 3:02 sec cast.
We scheduled a taping session for Tuesday May, 9th as I left at 8:30.
Total Hours worked this final day was 5.5 hours. For the semester,
I worked a total of 148 clock hours. And had a blast doing it!
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