Thursday, August 11, 2011

A long hot summer cools down for some

8:20 AM EDT 8/11/2011: Sunshine abounds on the East coast while flooding concerns rise in the Upper Mississippi Valley, and although the heat wave has broken for most states, it continues to mess with Texas. Today marks the longest running streak of 100 degree days in Waco, TX in official records.. totaling 43 days the shade temperature has topped the century mark. That means the last time a high in Waco stayed below 100 was all the way back on June 29. Talk about a long hot summer.


SEVERE Risk of a powerful storm in the Mid-Atlantic this weekend
TROPICAL Newest details on several systems in the Atlantic
STORMCAST Links and overview of NWS advisories

On our team, students use 
social media as a force for good
2011 Howard University/NCAS Weather Campers at the NOAA Science Center. Seven of the 12 shown have already joined our team and the rest are just around the corner. Right: U.S. Team Director Aaron Salter, and Karretta Venable, who served as counselors for two weeks. 

3:15 PM EDT 8/11/2011 | Today marks a significant step forward for the U.S. Team of Foot's Forecast. On this "Day of Champions" we are pleased to publicly announce the launch of 10 new forecast zones across the U.S., scheduled in the next 24 hours.  This achievement is the result of our forecasters and advisors spending many hours and long collaborations to develop, test and introduce locally-relevant forecast zones. These zones were developed through consultation with the forecasters whom  reside in the area covered, and with current readers of that area. We welcome to the "forecast family" a series of zones stretching  from Central Colorado to Charlotte, North Carolina  to Northern Virginia. There's another burst on the way before these will even be done sprouting. While the weather is relatively calm and before school gets any closer for some, we wanted to notify our readers of this development, and be sure to check back for the full announcement. 


Is it all on facebook? For now most of it is, and we're proud of that. While the inter-connectivity social media creates may be troublesome for some branches of society or institutions, our student members use the venue in a professional, appropriate way. On an average day in our team, high school and college students in 17 states routinely publish a locally-focused forecast several times a day specific to the weather in that corner of their world. Their citizen science outreach touches over 50,000 people every day in all 50 states and over 100 countries around the world. Their updates go forth in newsfeeds on Smartphones, in an SMS bulletin, in twitter, through auto-updates from this site, and in the countless redistributed portals through mass email... as  well as by word of mouth in the hallway of many high schools. We know a common statement heard in many communities is "Did you see what [insert favorite forecaster] said on Foots this morning?" 

What is the secret? It's not the work of one person, it is a team. Although Foot's Forecast was founded by a science teacher in Maryland eight years ago, it is more than a website: It's a philosophy centered on Collaboration, Passion and Innovation. Our 50+ members interact all hours of the day with professional meteorologists, educators and college students alike all across the country. There's always someone on the clock, and with students in 17 states, there's always another team member to double check. The secret is collaboration: Teaching students how to study and select the right kind of information, check with their peers, get feedback from their supervisors, and be open to suggestion from the readership. We train student to use National Weather Service (NWS), NOAA and university-generated information, and redistribute those resources to the public in an appropriate, efficient manner. 


The simpler story is: Our forecasters love weather*, and enjoy interacting with you, our readers, when it is on the move. (Photo: Forecaster Ross H. of North Carolina and Megan M. of Northern Virginia at the July 2011 NCAS Weather Camp.)  *hence the cloud above Ross and Megan. 

Where to learn more? If you are a student or weather enthusiast looking to innovate your future, now is a good time. Send a simple email to info@footsforecast.org for details on how to apply or learn more about the team. We welcome high school or college students, meteorologists, teachers, retired professionals with time and seeking outreach, or people in the workplace looking to be a force for good among the youth of America today. (Photo: Members of the Maryland Team as presenters at a June 2011 Emergency Management conference.)

Read about us in the media, visit our Vision and Mission page, or review the application and start the process today. We look forward to collaborating with those who understand and embrace that students can make more meaningful contributions to our society than one would ever think possible. (Mr. Foot, CEO and Lead Advisor - Baltimore, Maryland)

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