Certified Broadcast Meteorologist and Space & Science Journalist Meredith Garofalo of News 12 met with third-grade students at School #2 last Thursday to talk about how meteorologists formulate their weather forecasts. The students are currently studying water and weather in science, learning about the tools used to measure weather, different types of clouds, and severe weather phenomena. Third-grade teacher Kaitlyn Vidafar arranged the video conference through a mutual contact, with all third-grade classes participating.
The students had many questions about hurricanes and tornadoes. Garafalo explained how both types of weather patterns spin rapidly, but hurricanes are bigger systems and take longer to form, making them easier to predict in advance. Students also wanted to know whether Garafalo had ever been in a hurricane or tornado and Garafalo said she had never been in the eye of a storm but would like to fly with hurricane hunters and go through a storm's eye. She also explained how data from weather radar helps meteorologist's identify patterns, such as a rotation about to form. Her favorite part of her job, she said, was helping people to stay safe and to plan their activities around weather events. She suggested that keeping an eye on forecasts was the best way to protect against severe storms. Wrapping up her talk, Garafalo offered her email to any students interested in learning more about meteorology. "I've known since I was your age that I wanted to be a meteorologist and if you're interested in a career in weather forecasting, I would be happy to help," she said.