A Day in the Life of a Meteorologist

December 21, 2016 // Article by: Mike Mihalik

It's 2:30 AM...I just woke up, but trust me... I don't suffer from insomnia. This is when I start my day on the early shift at WeatherWorks. With coffee in hand, I'm out the door around or just after 3:00 AM and start work at 4:00 AM. Once at my computer, I begin briefing on the weather situtation for at least the next 5 days. By 4:30 - 5:00 AM, the forecasting team has met and discussed the impending storm, including whether we're sending Daily Forecasts or Storm Alerts, and start/end times or changeovers along with amounts of snow/ice (assuming this is the winter).

After another cup of coffee, I'm typing and sending out the morning forecasts, which are typically completed around 7:00 AM. If snow is on the way and imminent, I'm calling and texting heads-up notifications for the arrival time along with fielding calls from my zone. Hopefully this all goes to plan and I'm taking a break from 8 - 9 AM to eat breakfast or grab a quick nap...but it all depends on the storm situation. After break, there's no time to waste as Certified Snowfall Totals (CSTs) are pending from the prior day and need to be turned around in 48 hours or less. And nothing goes better with CSTs, than a third round of java! So the next several hours are spent analyzing observations, radar, raw snow totals, formulating event summaries and inputing the data (hopefully this process is finished or I'm wrapping it up from home later in the day). Not to mention, some radio broadcasts are being sent out and social networking is taking place during this time!

By 11:00 AM, lots of new data and modeling coming in, so I'm back to analyzing and briefing on the new data to make sure there are no significant changes to the upcoming storm. Oh, and why not grab another coffee to keep me sharp, right? (It's been a tough day...haha..) Either way, afternoon updates are typically done for the remainder of my shift and I'm adjusting my forecast based on current observations and snow totals (if the storm is ongoing) or using new model data (if the storm has yet to begin). By 1:00 PM, I'm briefing the meteorologist taking over my zone for the afternoon/evening and if everything goes well I'm home by around 2:00 PM (so long as extra coverage isn't needed for a major storm).

And that's a day in the life of a WeatherWorks meteorologist, in particular, myself during the winter. Other meteorologists also have secondary duties as in forensic work, shift scheduling, and sales, so we don't all do the same tasks outlined above. Oh, and we don't all drink this much coffee either!

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