AMS Broadcast Conference Talks Now Available Online

August 20, 2013 · 1 comment

When it comes to broadcast meteorology, it’s never too early to begin networking. Matthew Cappucci—15 years old and perhaps the youngest person to give a presentation at an AMS conference—kicked off his talk at the 41st Conference on Broadcast Meteorology by noting he’d be ready for the workforce in six years if anyone was interested. His presentation on gust-front waterspouts was met with an enthusiastic response from the broadcasters and personal accolades from Harvey Leonard, chief meteorologist at WCVB-TV in Boston, who joked that Cappucci could have his job in less than six years.

As notable as Cappucci’s research and presentation was, more impressive is the fact that his work with the local NWS office in Taunton, Massachusetts, has resulted in them adding additional statements to their severe thunderstorm and special marine warnings. His goal is to have other offices adopt the new warning criteria and also have broadcasters use these parameters in alerting the general public regarding threatening weather, including gust-front related waterspouts.

Cappucci’s talk can be found here, and the AMS website now has recordings of numerous great presentations from the conference that took place in Nashville in June.  The meeting featured recent research in climate change, communication, and educational programs; a few of the presentations that got the conversation flowing among attendees were:

  • James Spann, broadcast meteorologist in Birmingham, Alabama, relayed his personal experience on the generational tornado outbreak of April 27 2011, noting that despite excellent warnings, the loss of life was exceptionally high and unacceptable. Being on traditional television and radio and using social media isn’t enough, he says; broadcasters need to use it correctly to be effective.
  • Sheldon Drobot of NCAR presented the development and testing of the mobile alert warning (MAW) application, which blends traditional weather information with mobile vehicle data to get current weather conditions and provides them to users through web and phone applications. His paper on MAW has recently been accepted to BAMS and will be published in an upcoming issue.
  • The panel session on “Naming Winter Storms” included the NWS’s stance by John Ferree, Susan Jasko’s communication perspective on the power involved in naming, and Bryan Norcross on The Weather Channel’s decision to name the storms and how they went about it.

Norcross also spoke on the “Lessons from Hurricane Sandy on Evacuation Communications,” exploring how the threat might have been better characterized to convey the possible expected coastal effects and resulting danger.

And if you want more from Cappucci, he also wrote an article on Hurricane Sandy for a local paper, which can be read here.  Not bad for someone who still has two years of high school to complete.