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Meet the National Weather Service meteorologists

Profiles of National Weather Service meteorologists David Andrea, Steve Piltz, Jose Garcia and Mario D. Valverde
BY BRYAN PAINTER Staff Writer bpainter@opubco.com Modified: March 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm •  Published: March 11, 2013
David Andra, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office.  Photo by Shevaun Williams (Please credit photographer) <strong></strong>
David Andra, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office. Photo by Shevaun Williams (Please credit photographer)

David Andra, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Norman Forecast Office

• Years with the National Weather Service: 25-plus.

• Years at this office: 19

• Years as the meteorologist in charge at this office: Less than 1 year.

• Staff size: 29

• How many counties do you cover in all? 48 in Oklahoma and eight in western, North Texas.

• If needed because of a severe weather threat at your office, which National Weather Service office is your primary backup? Tulsa, then Fort Worth, Texas.

• What is different about severe weather coverage, such as severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes, in your area? The dryline, a boundary that helps storms to develop, is near or over western Oklahoma most of the spring. This gives us the potential to have several days of severe storms in a row, each with the potential for tornadoes. In many parts of the U.S. the threat lasts a day or less at any given time.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather coverage in the daytime? When storms are forecast, make it a point to check the weather situation throughout the day. Monitor our webpage, weather.gov/norman, radio, television, or NOAA weather radio. Be prepared to take shelter if a warning is issued.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather in the overnight hours? The same thing, but when asleep, weather radio may be the best way for you to be awakened to take action.

• Is there anything else you would like to add about severe weather coverage such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes? It's important at work, school or home to have a plan in the event you find yourself or your family in the path of a tornado. If a warning is issued, take action quickly, don't wait.

Steven Piltz, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Tulsa Forecast Office. Photo Provided <strong>Photo Provided - Photo Provided</strong>
Steven Piltz, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Tulsa Forecast Office. Photo Provided Photo Provided - Photo Provided

Steve Piltz, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Tulsa Forecast Office

• Years with the National Weather Service: 25

• Years at this office: 22

• Years as the meteorologist in charge at this office: 13

• Staff size? 25

• How many counties do you cover in all? 25 in Oklahoma, seven in Arkansas.

• If needed because of a severe weather threat at your office, which National Weather Service office is your primary backup? Norman.

• What is different about severe weather coverage, such as severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes, in your area? Auto-updating Decision Support Page ... www.srh.noaa.gov/tsa/dsp/dsp.php

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather coverage in the daytime? Stay engaged with local information ... i.e. not watching / listening to a national (cable/satellite) TV / radio channel with no connection to a local alert.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather in the overnight hours? Have something that will wake you up. Do not depend on sirens (even during the day).

• Is there anything else you would like to add about severe weather coverage such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes? Find a way to know what we are saying. Do not just listen to see if you are in a warning. Know what the warning says. Some Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are for 1 inch hail and 60 mph winds. Other Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are for baseball size hail, 90 mph winds and mention tornadoes.

Jose Garcia, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Amarillo, Texas <strong></strong>
Jose Garcia, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Amarillo, Texas

Jose Garcia, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Amarillo, Texas Forecast Office

• Years with the National Weather Service: 30

• Years at this office: 21

• Years as the meteorologist in charge at this office: 20

• What is your staff size: 22

• How many counties do you cover in all? Three in the Oklahoma Panhandle, 20 in the Texas Panhandle.

• If needed because of a severe weather threat at your office, which National Weather Service office is your primary backup? The office in Lubbock, Texas is our primary backup.

• What is different about severe weather coverage, such as severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes, in your area? I don't know that it is different, but severe weather is one of our primary interests. In the springtime, severe weather often begins in our area along the dryline before pushing east into other sections of Oklahoma.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather coverage in the daytime? Always be “weather ready,” especially in the spring and early summer. Pay attention to forecasts in the morning, but check in for updates throughout the day. Also, we are especially diligent about providing updates on Facebook.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather in the overnight hours? Monitoring in the overnight hours is particularly important since you may be sleeping. Multiple methods of receiving severe weather information during the nighttime are important. We recommend NOAA Weather Radio, which acts much like a smoke alarm in your home but can alert you to immediate severe weather threats. Other methods such as cellphone and text services are other good ways to get information overnight.

• Is there anything else you would like to add about severe weather coverage such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes? While we have seen a lull in this type of activity over our past two drought years, everyone should remain alert and have a plan to address this activity in the future. It's not a matter of if we'll have thunderstorms and tornadoes, it's only a matter of time so be “weather ready.”

Mario D. Valverde, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Shreveport, La. Forecast Office

• Years with the National Weather Service: 26

• Years at this office: Less than 1.

• Years as the meteorologist in charge at this office: Less than 1.

• Staff size: 23

• How many counties do you cover in all? One in Oklahoma (McCurtain County), nine in Arkansas, 21 in Texas and 17 parishes in Louisiana.

• If needed because of a severe weather threat at your office, which National Weather Service office is your primary back up? Fort Worth, Texas

• What is different about severe weather coverage, such as severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes, in your area? Because of our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico we tend to have more moisture in the atmosphere. This gives us more precipitation during weather events and can mask some radar signatures. The staff at WFO Shreveport is well-experienced with this environment and has an excellent record serving the public in the area.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather coverage in the daytime? I think this applies to both day- and nighttime; everyone should stay aware of the weather and have a plan of what to do beforehand. Listen to the radio or TV if the weather starts to deteriorate or have a NOAA Weather Radio correctly programmed for your area to alert you if a warning is issued. If you have a cell, make sure you can get weather warnings on it.

• What would you tell the public about monitoring severe weather in the overnight hours? I think the same thing applies, especially having a NOAA Weather Radio that can wake you up if a warning is issued for your area.

• Is there anything else you would like to add about severe weather coverage such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes? I think everyone should have a plan of what to do before severe weather threatens, once a warning is issued for your area is not the time to decide whether you going pull mattresses off the bed or go to the bathtub or both. Everyone should take some time now to think about these situations and plan what they will do if needed.

Bryan Painter, Staff Writer


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