BLIZZARD OF NEW METEOROLOGISTS
Blizzard of New Meteorologists By: Mallory Brooke, Meteorologist at WMTW
Blizzard. The “B” word.
It’s music to the ears of snow-loving meteorologists like myself. Even better when it impacts New England, but beggars can’t be choosers on historic storms (you know we’ll have our turn).
Blizzards are also the birth of meteorologists-to-be across the country. It’s what everyone is talking about, and young minds are bound to wonder how this happened. You see, it was 20 years ago, that the Blizzard of 1996 unfolded across the same area on January 6. I was a 9 year old in East Brunswick, New Jersey, already enamored with weather and watching The Weather Channel without end. My notebook, ruler, and snow gear was ready. I took measurements – through the night – of the first snowstorm I could really comprehend. Beyond being off from school for a week, building snow forts with my brothers, and sledding down our high school hill, my love of weather seemed to increase tenfold. How on earth did 34 inches of snow just fall on my lawn?
The curiosity didn’t fade away with time, but only increased. It was in elementary school that I realized I wanted know why the atmosphere acted in such ways. As a junior in high school came the President’s Day Storm of 2003, another week off of school, and the eagerness to pursue my passion for weather at the Pennsylvania State University skyrocketed.
As a student at PSU, I embraced my love of winter and learned to ski at Tussey Mountain, for college credit no less! Two years later came the Valentine’s Day Storm of 2007, the first storm I could truly understand the science of forecasting, and my first encounter driving in white out conditions to get some runs under my belt on new skis. My first blizzard forecast as a degreed meteorologist came 18 months after graduation, in Harrisonburg, Virginia back in Winter 2009-2010. The winter wonderland was truly my element. It always amazed me how something so silent could bring some of the largest cities to a halt. My love of winter and skiing eventually brought me to Maine, where I’ve been for 4.5 years.
While it would’ve been a great 20th anniversary present to have a historic blizzard to forecast and watch unfold (and dump 2-3 feet of powder on the mountains), the best gift will be the newfound hunger for knowledge of children, teens, and young adults, and ultimately the birth of new meteorologists. I know one day I’ll hear, “ever since the Blizzard of 2016, I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist,” and my smile will widen with glee, just like it did on January 6, 1996.
It’s been a tough winter thus far in New England, and we have our snowmaking teams to thank for the fabulous current conditions across New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the signs don’t point toward major snowstorms as we go into the first week of February.