Saturday, May 4, 2013

NOAA speaker offers weather reporting help

Forecaster Orlando Bermudez talks with Univision anchor Anabel Monge after the session.

By Laura Garcia

Orlando Bermudez, NOAA weather forecaster for the San Antonio/Austin area, spoke about weather reporting during a 9 a.m. session at the Region 8 conference.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. They offer journalists a quick and reliable resource. His office services Central Texas.

Bermudez said the National Weather Service offices don’t let the phone ring more than three times. He urged reporters to call with questions and to set up a tour to visit the weather reporting offices.

The public information line is 830-606-3617.

He recommended taking the Skywarn Spotter classes, which is two one-hour courses on reporting weather conditions like wind damage and hail.

“You come out with a basic degree in forecasting,” he joked.

Bermudez said since 1996 there have been 213 flash flood deaths in Texas with 24 deaths in Bexar County. “Why? Because we all have things to do.”

He talked about cases where people didn’t want to be late to work or had to pick up their children and risk their lives by driving in flooded areas.

“You think you can make it. Oh okay, it’s only a few inches. Big mistake,” he said. “Never underestimate the power of water.”

He also talked about the importance of checking the weather for event planners.

He showed a video of a stage that collapsed under straight-line winds at the Indiana State Fair Aug. 13, 2011. Seven people died and nearly four dozen were injured in the incident. An investigation showed that the weather service sent warnings and they were ignored by the event’s planners.

“When you plan an event you better check the weather,” he said.

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