Thursday, June 7, 2012

"I believe I can fly..."
- 1996 single by R. Kelly in the Space Jam soundtrack

6:45 AM EDT 6/7/12 Ever wonder who has been the face behind the forecast? Our U.S. Leadership Team would like to make special mention of the one and only Forecaster Mike Natoli of our Central Maryland Team. For the past several months, Mike has been providing you with a daily national lead story here on the main site of 

SAVING LIVES, PROTECTING PROPERTY Weather never sleeps, and Mike hardly ever does either. Days before the historic June 1 tornado outbreak in Maryland (Baltimore Sun), Mike had been collaborating with meteorologist Alex Davis from the University of Delaware to provide advance forecasting details to our newest client, the Bel Air Downtown Alliance. Hours before the severe weather struck Maryland, Executive Director Scott Walker and the Downtown Bel Air Team made the decision to move their widely-promoted "First Friday" event indoors out of concern for the impending weather. 

Those in Harford County who were able to enjoy the First Friday events at MaGerk's Pub & Grill, remainly safely indoors, and all came out without a scratch. What's not well known is that the work of Mike and the Central Maryland Team kept Director Walker well-appraised of the developing situation. A tornado did unfortunately impact other portions of the Bel Air, MD area that same afternoon, destroying several buildings along Route 152 and Bel Air Road. 

NOT "JUST A STUDENT" On top of his many forecasting duties on our team, Mike has been a very active member of his high school at numerous levels. Mike runs track and cross country, was in the marching band, and other activities at C Milton Wright High School in Harford County of central Maryland. The image below was taken in May 2012 following a presentation to 9th graders at his school by Mike and fellow Maryland team member Evan Schiesser of  Baltimore County.

COLLABORATION ACROSS THE NATION. A dedicated member of our team since January 2011, Mike has become the Lead Forecaster for several of our zones in the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition to the national lead story, Mike has been an unswerving forecaster for our Bayshore and Metro New York zones, as well as posting each night in the Central Maryland zone. He has served in our Winter Stormcast | Mid-Atlantic zone and was the Event Leader for the October 29-30, 2011 Mid-Atlantic snowstorm among many other winter weather events.

Maryland Forecasters Mike and Connor leading a June 2011 hurricane simulation
exercise at the Baltimore County Emergency Operations Center 
DECISION SUPPORT. In addition to his forecasting work. Mike has served on the decision support team that assisted several counties and municipalities across Maryland in their darkest hours. These experiences include assisting Ocean City Emergency Services during both the July 2011 Dew Tour and Hurricane Irene in August 2011, forecasting information to Howard County Emergency Management and Facilities Management for the University of Maryland - College Park. 

OUT OF MANY, ONE. On June 6, 2012, after an unbroken string of 3 months writing lead stories for our many pages, Mike took a well-deserved evening off from forecasting for something more important: High School commencement! We honor the cheerful service and dedication of Mike, and the many other high school student forecasters on our team who have made a difference in the lives of thousands across the country -- by following their passion for forecasting the weather. The next crown jewel in Mike's advancing early career is that he will pursue a degree in Atmospheric Science at the University of Maryland this fall. 

OUR THANKS. On behalf of the 60+ member of the U.S. Team, we celebrate Mike's academic and athletic achievements in high school, and his commitment to helping our readers take the right step for their local weather. Check back each Thursday for our special series "Featuring The Forecasters" to learn more about the accomplishments of our many high school students. Perhaps someday soon, you'll be the one we are writing about next?

(CEO & Lead Advisor Rich Foot, Operations Director Aaron Salter and the Leadership Team of Foot's Forecast) 

Top image: Mike on a forecasting break during Hurricane Irene in August 2011, where he proved that flying is not just for the birds, if you just believe.

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