Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring Weather

This spring semester of my internship at KMGH Channel 7 has given me invaluable experience forecasting some of the most unpredictable weather in the world. Speaking mainly of the Front Range cities in Colorado, of course, I've seen record snowfall amounts in the high country, Chinook winds that rattle the windows in Boulder, a 'light dusting' that brought four inches of heavy wet unexpected snow to the metro area, and I've seen boring days of zonal flow that lead to an uneventful afternoon at the station.

Forecasting the weather for 100 cities across Colorado on a biweekly basis has been a challenging, ongoing and highly educational process. Colorado cities are unique because as a group, they have over 5000 feet of altitude difference from the plains to the high country, this phenomenon is something that the forecast models tend to 'smooth over,' leaving the human forecaster with the task of combining interpretation of the models with knowledge of the topography of a given area to come up with a forecast that is reasonably accurate. As for my own skill, I have yet to promise snow on a perfectly sunny day, and I have yet to promise warmth on a day that brings shivers. That being said, I've had my share of being wrong.

One afternoon in February I was unable to correctly forecast the abrupt snow that blanketed the unprepared Denver Metro area simply because I failed to look out the window. Had I looked to the western sky, I would have recognized the cloud banding indicative of a heavier snow than any of the models were predicting. From that day forward, I take a walk outside the windowless studio and look to the sky before entering my forecast for the day.

The internship at KMGH has shown me what it is like to work in the field of broadcast meteorology. Weather is news, especially in Colorado where unsettled weather is a daily occurrence. The job of the broadcast meteorologist is to give the most accurate and understandable weather depiction available on an hourly basis, while issuing appropriate weather ticker warnings in congruence with the National Weather Service.

Another resource for weather news is, which is updated by interns and meteorologists multiple times in a day with up-to-the-minute weather information as it becomes available to us here at the station. The Internet is important because people who are unable to catch the nightly newscast still need accurate weather information from a source they trust. in this case, KMGH is (and always should be) that source. On, weather maps, planning forecasts, and point forecasts are available for locations all over Colorado.

My experience at KMGH has been incredibly high-impact. The forecast that I prepare is the one that goes up on-screen for the entire audience of KMGH to see. I produce, render, and compile the seven-day forecast for Denver with a guiding hand from Mike Nelson and Tony Laubach, I combine the forecast with weather graphics that go onto the green-screen for Mike Nelson's afternoon broadcast. I maintain up-to-date- weather information on the Internet at This experience will add to my resume when I apply for a career in broadcast meteorology.

Overall, I'm sad that this semester, and my internship are comming to an end. I hope to continue my pursuit of a career in broadcast meteorology as my college experience progresses.

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