Falling on February 5th, National Weatherperson's Day is always a good opportunity for us to highlight one of the many Iteris meteorologists that forecast and analyze weather data for use in ClearPath Weather and ClearAg.
Today we’re featuring one of our newer meteorologists, Brianna Kump. Brianna is a road weather meteorologist supporting ClearPath Weather.
Why did you become a meteorologist?
I’ve been fascinated with weather ever since I was little, so becoming a meteorologist was just the natural progression of my passion. One of my favorite stories that my parents recall is of me being very alert during severe weather days. I grew up in Minnesota, so summer was always active with severe weather. I would continuously switch back and forth between local news channels to get the most up-to-date information on the storms from the local meteorologists. I would make sure to call my family to tell them to be aware if they were in a severe thunderstorm warning or tell them to get into their basement if they were in a tornado warning.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job?
I really enjoy helping build a product and making videos that help others understand complex forecasts and models in ways that help them complete their operations in a safe and timely manner and, in turn, increase the safety of the people that use their roads.
Why do you think weather and weather forecasting is important?
Weather is universal; it affects everyone all the time. Understanding current and forecasted weather is critical for public safety.
What’s the most severe weather you’ve experienced personally?
Growing up in Minnesota I’ve experienced tornado warnings during the summer (I’ve never seen a tornado!) and -40+ wind chills in the winter.
What’s the biggest myth you’ve heard about the weather?
Honestly there is a lot of hype around the weather. And although the hype isn’t technically a myth, some media portray the weather to be much scarier than it needs to be. There needs to be a balance between educating the public, warning them of impending weather events, and creating a sense of urgency. Terms like “snowmageddon” can really be scary for people and can paint a picture of total chaos and the end of the world when really they just need to make sure they and their families are prepared for lots of snow by having a plan and essentials like snow gear, warm clothing/blankets, food, water, a source of heat, etc.
What’s the most challenging or interesting kind of weather to forecast?
Severe weather, because during severe weather the atmosphere is very volatile. The correct atmospheric variables need to be aligned at the right place and time to for severe weather to occur. That timing can be hard to predict and could be the difference between a rain shower, gusty winds, or a tornado (for example).