FROM READERS: Mizzou Campus Weather Service makes a return on social media

Friday, July 4, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:10 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2014
Current forecasters and meteorologists who contribute to the Mizzou Campus Weather Service. Top row from left: Josh Kastman, Anthony Lupo (adviser), Sarah Grana, Peter Speck, Laurel McCoy. Bottom row from left: Katie Crandall, Alzina Foscato, Victoria Stepanek. Participants not shown are Patrick Market (adviser) and Luke Victor.

Peter Speck is an MU graduate student in the Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Science Department with a focus on obtaining a master's degree in Atmospheric Sciences. He completed his undergraduate studies in meteorology at the State University of New York at Oswego and has the goal of pursuing a career with the National Weather Service.

We all have our places we look to for our weather: TV, radio, newspapers, the National Weather Service, AccuWeather, etc. … The list goes on and on and keeps growing.

However, one place people used to look at for weather is starting to make a return.

The Mizzou Campus Weather Service started off as a website that was run and maintained by the synoptic students who were currently taking a specific class. After some time passed, the site became fairly stagnant as it no longer became a part of the synoptic class. The only thing that is regularly updated every morning is the surface map of the U.S.

Before I came to the University of Missouri to begin my graduate studies, one of the things I would do on the side while I was pursuing my B.S. in Meteorology was to forecast for my local area back in central New York. With significant help from one of my good friends, we started a Facebook/Twitter account called CNY Weather. We would split forecast duties every other night and would post other things we found interesting like highs/lows for nearby cities, lake effect snow discussions and the occasional reports of who was going to get the most snow from a passing nor’easter.

Dr. Anthony Lupo, the current chair of the Department of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science at Mizzou, was a follower of our CNY Weather page. When I made known to him that I had accepted the offer to pursue my graduate studies at Mizzou, one of the things he brought up that I could do in my spare time was to help revive up the Campus Weather Service, and to use my experience from CNY Weather to do so.

When he asked me this, the idea grabbed hold of me and never let go.

With significant help from the graduate and undergraduate students and professors of the Atmospheric Science Department (without whom this would not be possible), the Mizzou Campus Weather Service has begun to take a complete 180 from what it was. Currently, a mix of seven undergrads and grad students forecast for each day during the week. Students are assigned one day of the week and are required to post a graphic and/or a discussion pertaining to what will happen weather-wise the next day. Students are also allowed to post other things they find interesting about weather as well!

The Campus Weather Service page has also been a good way to show off what the department has been up to on the research side of meteorology. Graduate students Josh Kastman and Laurel McCoy, both of whom work on the Program for Research on Elevated Convection with Intense Precipitation (PRECIP), have incorporated graphics and forecasting techniques that they currently use in their research to forecasting for the Campus Weather Service page.

To keep things relatively simple, we have limited the Campus Weather Service activity to Facebook and Twitter. People who follow the page will be able to see forecasts and other posts right in their news feeds without having to click on another link to see their forecast. Plans for updating the old Campus Weather Service Website are in the works for the future as well.

The links for the pages are as follows:

We hope you all will give us a ‘like’ or a ‘follow’! After all, what better way to get your weather than from those who are going to be the future of meteorology!

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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