Weatherboy sent three lucky meteorology students on an all-expense-paid trip to the 2022 National Tropical Weather Conference and is about to do it again. Shane Lewis from Texas A&M , Rubayet Bin Mostafiz from Louisiana State University, and Sydney Ann Brown from Purdue University were each randomly selected to attend the annual conference held in South Padre Island, Texas in 2022. A new promotion is underway now through March 15 to select three lucky students to attend the 2023 event too. The “Weatherboy” brand and weatherboy.com website has partnered with Storm Science Network on this promotion as a continuation of its commitment to make science fun while supporting future generations of the metrological community.
The multi-day National Tropical Weather Conference covers all major aspects of hurricane preparedness, providing a unique opportunity to learn from top experts in tropical meteorology. The event brings together meteorologists from the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service, television stations around the country, weather-related social media stars, and other professionals involved in the preparation before and communication and response after tropical storms or hurricanes strike.
The setting of the annual conference is along the beach of South Padre Island, Texas, the site of several hurricane landfalls including Beulah and Dolly.
Among the attendees scheduled to be at this year’s event are National Weather Service Director Ken Graham, Lt. Col. Ryan Rickert, a 53rd Air Force Reserve Weather Reconnaissance Squadron Hurricane Hunter, Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore, Josh Morgerman who appears as himself in the television series “Hurricane Man”, and many more.
In addition to covering expenses associated with the trip, including air travel, ground transfers in Texas, hotel accommodations, conference registration, and conference meals, winners are able to have private one on one time with a guest presenter of their choice for career guidance, insight on their educational or career backgrounds, or more.
Bin Mostafiz said when he was first selected, he and his professor who first introduced the promotion to him, thought the winning notification was spam. “I never expect[ed] that I will [be] selected as a winner,” he told us, adding, “This was a lifetime opportunity for me. I am glad I got the chance.” Beyond attending all conference meetings and meals, Bin Mostafiz requested a one-on-one meeting with Arianne Thomas, who serves as the Regional Hurricane Program Manager for FEMA. Interested in pursuing further studies and a career in tropical cyclone response and recovery, Bin Mostafiz said his chat with Thomas will help achieve his goals in the future.
“This is a life changing event for me. I learned different aspects of tropical cyclones which will help me in future research. The most important thing was meeting with different attendees and speakers from multidisciplinary fields who are working day and night for the welfare of humans to reduce loss and fatalities with their innovative ideas,” Bin Mostafiz said.
Sydney Ann Brown said she was “absolutely blown away” by winning the trip to the event. “As a college student, there is no way I ever could have provided any of the amenities such as the flights, the hotel room, the meals, registration, etc., especially post-COVID. The prize was enough to cover every expense in encountered while on the trip. The meals were fantastic, even with my complicated diet, the hotel was fabulous, and of course, the beach was gorgeous. The conference was also amazing, and each speaker was incredibly interesting and engaging.”
Brown added, “I thought the conference was fantastic. I met people that I never thought I would have the chance of meeting and made great friends in Shane and Rubay. I enjoyed the breaks as they kept me from getting overloaded and really appreciated the snacks too! I am glad they had vegetarian options for me as well, otherwise I might have been a little hungry.”
Brown said the overall experienced helped her solidify her plans for the future. “This did have a profound impact on the rest of my education and career. It solidified my interest in graduate school and the future job I would like to have. I also learned about what courses I need to continue taking such as programming and physics, as it will set me apart. I got very valuable information about my career path just by talking to people through this conference. I think it helped me eliminate a few things that I might have glanced over before, but I know what I want to do for sure now as well. ”
In addition to being able to dine with the Director of the National Hurricane Center, Brown said her one-on-one experience with “Hurricane Man” Josh Morgerman was a highlight too. Known as “iCyclone” in social media as an active international hurricane chaser featured on numerous television networks, Josh Morgerman was also the star of his own “Hurricane Man” show on the Science Channel.
Texas A&M Meteorology Student Shane Lewis also spoke highly of the event. “The prize was something that someone like us dreams about. Being able to meet people who we followed, people who inspired us, and people who we want to someday become is a prize that I’ll never forget,” Lewis said.
For his one-on-one, Shane Lewis got a two for one special: he was joined by both Ken Graham, who was then the Director of the National Hurricane Center, and is now Director of the National Weather Service, and Jaime Rhome, who now serves as the Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center.
“The 1-on-1 session was one of the best moments of the event. The experience was, and still is, surreal to me. Being able to sit down and ask whatever questions I had was incredible. Some of the highlights were the ability to gain advice from these speakers. Also, learn how they got to where they are today and about their general past in general,” said Lewis.
Like Brown, Lewis said participating at the conference helped solidify the next steps in his career pursuits. “This experience positively impacted my future career in so many ways. This event helped make one of my career paths clearer. I gained a lot of insight and, hopefully, connections during this event. I am now more hopeful and believe more in myself for the future…I was able to learn the best paths to pursue in order for me to get to my ultimate job destination,” said Lewis.
Lewis also said, “My overall experience was a life changing refresh that I needed. Our field is so competitive that you sometimes feel as if regardless of what you do, it’ll never be good enough compared to others. This conference reminded me that the person behind the smarts matters too, and to always believe in yourself even if the odds are stacked against you.”
The 2023 event is coming soon; it will be held at the same venue as the ’22 event in South Padre Island, Texas from April 11-15, 2023. And as with last year’s conference, meteorology students can enter a “Trip to the Tropics” promotion to try to win again.
One of the highlights of the annual conference is the unveiling of Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project forecast for the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Season. Known as the gold standard for seasonal outlooks, the CSU report will be unveiled at a special press conference within the broader event in Texas.
In addition to being a sponsor of the National Tropical Weather Conference for the second time this year, Weatherboy has renewed its support for the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University (CSU), something it has done each year since 2018.
“We have been putting out our April forecast from the National Tropical Weather Conference for several years now,” Dr. Klotzbach told us. “This conference is an excellent venue for putting out our forecasts, since many broadcast meteorologists are in attendance. It is a great way to discuss our initial outlook for the hurricane season, and to receive feedback from the meteorologists on the predictions. There are many excellent speakers at the conference discussing the latest improvements and forecasting, research, and public awareness/outreach. The conference also does an excellent job at promoting camaraderie amongst the broadcast meteorological community.” Dr. Klotzbach, who earned his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2007, has been employed in the Department of Atmospheric Science for the past twenty years and was co-author on the Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts with Dr. William Gray through 2005. He became first author on the seasonal hurricane forecasts in 2006. Klotzbach developed the two-week forecasts currently being issued during the peak months of the hurricane season between August-October. He has published over two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Climate and Weather and Forecasting. And like other professionals at the conference, are available for formal interviews or casual chats.
Alex Garcia, a well-known television meteorologist with San Antonio’s KABB-TV, is one of the founders of the event. Garcia explained to us how the conference formed. “The idea for the National Tropical Weather Conference came about when the Bahamas Weather Conference ended,” Garcia said. “There was no organized effort to educate and update broadcast meteorologists about the upcoming hurricane season. I saw the need and along with my partner, Tim Smith, decided to develop a new conference that would bring together the top hurricane forecasters, social scientists, insurance professionals, resilience experts and others to address the needs of broadcast meteorologists and businesses. We started many years ago with just ten meteorologists. We have grown about 800% as excellent reviews of the conference expanded.” Tim Smith adds, “The National Tropical Weather Conference has become the one conference which broadcast meteorologists in communities affected by hurricanes should not miss. It’s all the content they need in one convenient, affordable, fun package.” Smith is also no stranger to the broadcast meteorology world; he’s the Chief Meteorologist for KRGV-TV in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, an area that is no stranger to tropical cyclone threats.
Registration to the event is open to all here: http://hurricanecenterlive.com/
The promotion giving away free trips to the event to meteorology students is here: http://hurricanecenterlive.com/trip-to-tropics.html
In addition to providing the sweepstakes give-away to college students, Weatherboy is also offering to rebate the $50 registration fee paid by any college student that attends the event. Rebate information will be provided to those students at the event. Students from Hawaii may also qualify for an additional $500 travel credit paid as a rebate to those that fly in from Hawaii to attend the conference.
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) January 18, 2023