Judy Levan - NOAA

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, March 4th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with the news features and special guests. Now here's your host how many Wolfgang. Hi everybody welcome to my target thanks for joining me today I'm your host Kenny Wolfgang. And we are here every week to Tagamet subjects that we think are interesting and important and controversial sometimes in contemporary. And something that means a lot to a senator everyday lives and I have seen surveys and studies that say. That people in Western New York witches all in view of my listeners to most two most interesting subjects to to everybody. Arts and not necessarily in this order sports. And the weather are. So I I you listening do you agree well we had going to tackle one of those two subjects today and you proudly knowing and an image as sports and plus. Our sister station sort of has that sports area covered although we kind of but in Winston well but we're not talking just fortunate to implement this second. Favorite subject. And everybody it was just saying everybody always talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it kid and he'll be my guess is left because she's here than a few times. She just something about it will sort of she reports it and she warns people and tells people in educates people about it. As a matter of fact my guess is probably the one that gives only information to those sports can't have those weather cast is rather that you watch on. Two fours seven and kind of at the weather channel but definitely. Locally. She is a source of all knowledge about the weather right if you keep it and just like she's that she's the brains behind. And she's the speaker behind the puppet they're moving their lips but I guess it's right here in the studio with us is telling them what to say. So. Before you give up guessing I guess name is Judy Levin and Judy is these. Meteorologist. In charge of the national weather services. Buffalo forecast office thank you so much for coming. And gambling act and say with the weather is today when our country and plus that plus the fact that. Will proudly be wrong to people I have missed out right now put humans back to people always say you. How can you be wrong all the how can they be so wrong all the time everybody asks. How how would I have a job where I can be wrong all the time and still get paid is usually what I hear. Tom I have to tell you we as a meteorologist and the ones on TV and the ones that work went. We are scientists. And were used to solving equations and computer models and so it it to really frustrates us when we get it wrong. I think what's most important for people to remember is it's not. Upped its not like and why there's so much that goes into the computer models and forecasting an experience and I think. Those are the things that people maybe don't understand. The frustration or people say to me while I watch this channel and they said Danson and I watched it turn the channel and I saw this and they said something else. And you know don't you guys ever talk to each other doc ever get a straight and there's so much more of that goes into then come forecaster experiences. It's really just a matter of personality. People say which channel should I watch or where should I get my weather information from. And for me the most important thing is just making sure that you're getting the weather information especially staying up to date. When it is summertime for severe weather severe thunderstorms are or are flash flooding in the wintertime for the really big snowstorms. I think it's really important for people to at least know that there's a threat as some severe weather coming so. I am I hate to say no preference say you know I'd like you don't you know pay attention to the National Weather Service forecast that's who I worked for. But as long as you're getting weather information that's really what's important. Kent and getting it from a reliable sauce and as is placing on really now let me just start by asking you I know adolescents would be as interested as as I am in this. How does one get to be a meteorologist. For hat in this case hating you get to be your relatives. I have always slumped math and science. Growing up in high school law and all through I just I thought it was fascinating let's math and science and I actually. Physics was my passion I really I'd love to physics but. I actually. Read an article in a magazine when I was in high school and it talked about women meteorologists. And how fuel hum their worm and I thought wow that would be really cool off. There was a way to apply the math and the science. And for me it's the satisfaction of being home being able to help people you don't realize at any weather effects everybody every day whether it's something as simple Leo's. What you know how heavier coat doing need to go out there. Or four people that have to work outside construction workers or. Emergency managers horror. First responders and even need it it's just it it. It affects every one and so. I think that's what I like the bust about it and so. I went to the State University of New York in a sweep them so I have my bachelor's degree is in media draw you my minor was in physics and couldn't get couldn't totally give up the physics. Tom. I started working for the National Weather Service. Through a cooperative education program. With the federal government from when I was junior college. Graduated on Saturday and started working for the National Weather Service on on the following Monday and here it is almost forty years later and I've been there and working here in buffalo I've been very fortunate I'm native western New Yorkers so that was very important for me to be able to stay close to home close to my family. You know as far as give forecasting in being a west into the native west in Utica. I think it must be a lot different from for a forecaster who comes here from Florida. Or Hawaii. Or am trying to think to California. It is to get on to you know the lake effect in all the different things that are and that factors that come into forecasting weather in this area. I think most people that forecast weather in this area. They'd love lake effect and it's a challenge its end as frustrating as it can be sometimes it's the challenge of it. I think is what interests us who really wants us to be your seal find that. Most people that are in this area forecasting the weather they like the challenge of lake effect. And it does like is said the frustrating at times but I I really think that we enjoy a being able to take into account in nobody. I don't think can really understand how much the lake's really affect our weather. Com. I often wonder what the forecasters out at Phoenix do all day long I just it's. This is just exciting for me I love the change of seasons. And the way the league's interact. In the springtime in the fall on the summer and you can see how they affect or whether and so. For me that's what keeps me interested I've been doing yet. Like aside from those forty years and I still love going to work every day I still love the weather is. It I'm not bored by a yet at all. And land rent hello listen is if they just change in this is. A program that is going to appeal to everybody sometimes we have against this kind of limited you know subject wise. But now if you just tuned in do not change to dial because we are talking to. The chief meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service here in buffalo. About your favorite subject of one of your favorite subjects listeners the weather so the other part about. Forecasting the weather is you say it's scientific. And does everywhere and duke. Get the information from like a central place from. And national access national so is there essential national. Information really gives a TUN and you filter what you have to start. Scratched well it's some it's sick it's a combination. The National Weather Service where part of the federal government prepare the Department of Commerce. So we are the ones that own a satellites. The radars. The observing systems. We work in concert where if private meteorologists Republican pride that we worked together. Com we have all the information we have huge computers outside of Washington that run computer models. And we provide all that information and out to a lot of private meteorologists a war on using basically the same. Information two maker forecast issue. From the products and get the information out to the public what makes us unique from the private meteorologist. Is the watches and warnings that we issue. It's by by federal law that the National Weather Service is the only agency that can issue watches and warnings so if you hear there's a severe thunderstorm warning or a winter storm watch. It had to calm from a National Weather Service office. But we realize and the media as our partners to get that information now so again. As I said earlier doesn't matter to me which TV station you watch or how you get your weather information as long as you're getting it. So we're all using the same basic weather information the same basic computer models using the same computers. Looking at the same radar systems the same satellites. But he hasn't said it's a matter how you interpret it how you make the forecasts. And then when generally how you interpreted but then I noticed they could be different. Forecast for different areas like just smiles partner and that I think is. Is bewildering to feel like he can be a different forecasts for. Well we'll salmon buffalo for what for William is filled for a south. And buffalo for Easter are you know people. Effort Antonia yeah and that and that has a lot to do with how the league's a fact or whether and so that's what makes. Again the challenge the exciting part about it is. That it it can change you know the old saying wait ten minutes and it's gonna change well drive ten miles and is going to change it's the same things so. Again that's firfer for our meteorologist that's that's the exciting Jarrett. You know for Iran may be the people who are having to drive from you know what northern Erie county into southern Erie county in have to drive Ural lake effect snow band may be it's not as you know. Exciting for them as it is for us. But. It's. I think that's what makes it really you know for firms perfect weather forecasters in this area. Besides a lake effect with other factors that end. That you have to look at wind to your forecasting. Essentially fix there is something about still say. There's a high it is alone though the winds are shifting the and there is kids think in the coming term that they. He always used. And Vick till now come back. You know a lot of it has to do with the actual low pressure system is what makes this unique in the United States we're actually the most severe weather provoked prone country in the world. And it's kind of our unique makeup is that we get the cold dry air coming out of Canada on the warm moist air coming out of since you know that golf. For the Atlantic and that is kind of what gives us all of those weather systems and so. Tom high pressure systems the low pressure systems the strength of them being. The proximity to where the jetstream is which is really the driving factor. For you know where the systems are gonna go and that's you know. Jet stream that's what they're just asked him to the funny I nearly in tears but jets strange yeah usually us usually when I really puts it about terms yes the other one went. The other one they wanna know about is this polar vortex like it weighted disk so what does that mean you know the polar vortex has been around. Forever. If you look back in two. Mike he can look at that glossary of Mitterrand chief from 1959. And we've got it sitting in a bookshelf in the office and it it's there is always been there as the earth spends there's a cold pool of air over the North Pole. And it stays there and so when the polar vortex is strong there cold air stays up there. But when it starts to get weakened breaks down and think of he you can liken it to an a creek or stream where it. Gets all these curves and Benson meanders and sometimes it breaks off for the same thing happens in the hemisphere give these cold. Eddie's that form and they tend to break off. It's not something you can look out a window and say oh here comes I only get more attacks I see the polar vortex you can't see yet. But it's always been there I think it's. It got picked up by eight may be the media and as it sounds knew if Sam and so it's Townsend new wing cool and it's and determine. It's it's like dot com. What was the other one the big bomb vote Genesis the big storm that we had the low pressure system that hit the East Coast. We've always had that term and in the neurology but once it makes it into the mainstream public it's. It's classic you know night. This cat is sexy new fanfare today but it is it yet they sang it well that reminds me of the other term that everybody is always talking out. And that's probably. Even say is thin and been here for over two and that's that quote and quote global warming issue. I mean has it is there's such a thing can you tell Ken meteorologists. Know that that does exist. He it's it's. I guess siren I referred to it as climate change but the climate is. Has always been changing and will always be changing hands so calm if you look at their measurements he concede that. Globally the average temperatures been rising the last volcano that we have less ice from the polls the oceans have been rising so. That change is always been occurring in a Whelan in in that in some other ways. I'm not that you can say any specific weather man is is a result of climate change but. You know. The listeners in the area you've probably noticed we have more windy days and we used to have. We have more events where we get heavy rainfall maybe not. Long term but. You know it really comes down for a while we have maybe some flooding issues and and more frequent flooding issues and so I think. We've all noticed those little changes that have been occurring in an and I think that. So. Guess a science test I'm saying yes it's occurring right we can see the change we can measure the change and see that it is happening. How am I can if you just tuned in today. You're very lucky because we are talking today too easy chief. Executive weather person here in Western New York whose real title is who the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service buffalo forecast office and she is Judy Levin and she is sound. Really the best talker and met him before we had a chance to talk I learned so much when we're. Now in a show together and so I thought oh I've got to bring her to Syria and see where else which can tell are on target listeners now. When you. Have done as soon as she said feel like forty years has there been elect major change in the way that you forecast. Boy absolutely when I started I hate to admit this we have Telus types. And smaller computer dollar forecast ramps were actually facsimile man sent me. Thomas who we used to have giant walls where we would put the maps up on the walls and we. Had a hand plot of the weather mail send. Tom now it's all my computer site I can. I can forecast weather from anywhere because all these computer models are now on the Internet and yet the information is so available and so that's the change I think. The computer modeling and the speed of the computers has really what's improved compete with weather forecasts. Because the computers can handle. More complex equations and be able to solve those equations and so the forecast actually are getting fatter and fatter. Com because of the speed at the computer so yes definitely the technology this is what to spend the biggest come when you think about it. From satellites have only been out their 5060 years we haven't had weather satellites for that long same thing with radar the raiders. Come the first raider here in buffalo was from became operational on the early 1960 so. We really haven't had a lot of the technology the boom is really bad in the last you know. 5060 years that we've seen such advances to be able to to help us make those forecasts. And protect people from from all the severe weather we gat. Which is important because you're as you said you are responsible for the warning is in the watches and that lets the public know. And it and I think part of that also part of my job I think is. We like to be able to go out there and talk to people for them to understand. I'm what do you do the I've just issued I just hear there's severe thunderstorm watch what does that mean to me. I'm a watch means watch the weather pay attention there's that there's a threat that we may get severe weather. When we issue a warning that means taking action so I issued severe thunderstorm warning I want everybody going inside if I issue a tornado warning. Getting into a basement flash flood warning moving to higher ground and those are the things. In this area for a severe thunderstorm warning. The average lead time is about twenty minutes so when we issue a warning you've got about twenty minutes before that severe weather is gonna hit. For tornado it's only about ten minutes a little bit less you know less than ten minutes so. When there's a tornado warning issue you need to know where to go that's not the time to pick up the phoning Google what do what do there's a tornado warning. So part of the mission of the weather service is the education of how to prepare yourself and and what do you need to do had a time to know where to go what to do and so. That's part of the education and the understanding not only the data day weather forecasting part but. That those planning working with emergency managers working went you know the planners to now okay what are the threats in this area. It was quite unusual last year we have four tornadoes on one day and you know yup that's never happened where we've had fourteen tornadoes but. We get tornadoes in this area and it's sometimes it still amazes me that you can walk up to people say hey do we get tornadoes in western new York and they'll say no. So those are the kind of things that I I I enjoy being able to go out and talk to people and say hey you know this is a severe weather we get this is what we need to prepare for. I ain't even really know until you came today so I just didn't realize how lucky how fortunate our leases and on target. Are because the difference between a warning and watched it for example we hit the terms of atomic. I think people realize yet what they mean and as you mentioned the tornadoes in hip people single time. We're so lucky living lesson you know we don't get in the name the things he don't get it. Tornado is and floods. I can't debate and vote we do get the things they came. Yet at that yes we and it yes and that's the thing that people need to be prepared for. It doesn't happen every day but the threats there and so we need to be able to know. You know and that's a matter of you know planning for your family it's calm it's it's. I I'm I'm up. I was started out as a prepared this meteorologist so I spent a lot of time working with people saying OK you know it's some war now in in the end of February were getting into march what should you be doing so now sometimes just at thinking about. Severe weather safety fer you know severe thunderstorms or. We all enjoy being outdoors in the summer time. You know you need to know. Just be aware there's a threat of severe weather where's the safest place to go. You know woo the quote one of the quickest earliest we don't look catchy rules of thumbs if it's hit if thunder roars go indoors if you can hear thunder. Your close enough to be struck by lightning. Turn around don't drown. If you're driving and you come upon a flooded roadway. Turn around. Find another route people don't realize half of all. Weather related our flood related deaths occur and in in automobiles because people think well there's just a little bit of water I can drive through this it's not gonna affect me I can make my way through. And it doesn't take it only takes a foot of water moving water to turn your car into about Kerio wasted. Mute your putting your life at risk and the people who are gonna try to come rescue those first responders and so. Some simple rules that you know if you just keep those in mind tends to keep yourself safe and in your neighbors safe it's. We learned so much and I can't fully well we're learning today and no clue what it was your favorite time of year to be forecasted. I think my favorite Tammy are to be forecasting is. Late summer early fall well I can say is as stupid question because the answer is winter so I'm glad as did Tom. And that's because I think that that. Because how the lakes interact with set the temperature big temperature differences. And and you can see the differences some. It in the springtime we tend to have. More sunshine. Because the lakes are cooler and they tend to suppress any type of clouds and so were sunny here. In the springtime in the summer than a lot of other areas if you were in the Finger Lakes. We're actually sunny here in western new York and the Finger Lakes because of this the lakes kind of pulling them things off. That cooling things off but come. Once you start getting into fall you get the bigger temperature differences the lake sold themselves can generate thunderstorms at night because of the heat in the moisture. So. I kind of like once you started to get in into winter. We start to see those temperature differences on. That's that's my favorite not to mention I love the colors and nine leaves changing in the India bad but he can weather life sets in as you say that. But since you raised Tellme is boring to four kids in good recipe in Phoenix a Florida. So I should realize you say that. One what do they eat how they reached the farmer's almanac to meet meteorologist. Consulted before they can that would give our kids you know they have any ability whatsoever. I can tell you we have we don't have a farmer's almanac if the office. We also don't have a ouija board or dart board if you wanna ask that are ready week or don't have an techie or Phil what's his name attached what's his name trump. Punxsutawney to donate so we'd to him I have to admit we do we have a stuff Deanna mall a stop crime hot and renamed in Gary so we do have a staff groundhog but he doesn't do very kind of forecasting the weather doesn't help us at all but. Bomb the farm so I did they just. You know making a statistics so is that how they do it it's just basically statistics and it's looking at the long term justly weekend. Long term make long term forecasts of three to six months in advance they're doing basically the same thing. It it's funny there are some things in nature you can look at. Crickets chirping different temperature with different temperatures state chair that a different frequencies there's actually apps you can download for your phone that if you. From your phone that can hear the chair of the cricket it'll tell you what the temperature is so there are some you know animals and things that actually do the validity of when you see the underside of the lane that's generally because the winds are coming from a different directions they start to see the underside of the leaves. Tom the idea about the cows Lang down that's not really valid but. But there are some of you know some other. If you wanna column the old wives' tales about you know what the weather's like him and what it means that some of those to a culture and say for some reason that. Still. There's only ten days out that can be really a valid forecast. Yeah and for myself I'm I go seven to ten days that. I'm pretty confident on five days and then those after that you know we're just looking basically a trance like second. You can look at seven days and say okay there's a low pressure system that's gonna bring in some rain. But exactly what time is gonna start raining we can't do that seven days out we can do it you know within the first couple days so we. I mean the accuracy of forecasts really has improved. Come over the years you know with the computer from Australia people say that you know. Her ten days that's it that's about it but even even like society is pretty much how people ask me like I'm getting married and six months can you tell me what and data and unlike. You know at that point that they can now I'm my invited the whining or now I mean but DI it's it. I can give air riches but really you can't go out that far I wish we could and I think. I think people get spoiled by how good we've gotten in the first couple days because then they would. They expect to get anyone here and they and a and that's part of having. Part of the book if you wanna call it the weather business. Is that people want that information. Further out they wanna know what's gonna happen. In in a longer term and it's because of the manner so that oh yeah businesses and we thank you just said to me getting married I mean it it just matters just. So much Sony. It's so important in their lives I talked to one I do career days and I'll talk to kids senator interest in the weather and Iowa's Tom. You could find. Any interest that you had and you could somehow relate whether to land and find a job I always tell them that he opportunities are there. Because you can find a job like I'm I'm amazed I'm maybe six months ago I read that article. That Mars the candy company. Come hired meteorologists. Because. Then they're looking okay. The climate change and trying to consider what where am I gonna get my arm and spreading on the enjoy his own hands where we going to be able to get kind of OP into their and is in Allen if give the climate is changing do we need to consider where we're getting mail from so. It too late at it it always amazes me that the jobs that people confined that have to do with the weather stays in so many ways it is amazing never put aside any of those that. Before you leave us can we have. That choose saying is that I loved again. One event turning around instead of going worst driving in the area so. Flooding were flooded roads turn around don't drown OK and for other end of the violence or lightning when thunder roars go indoors thank folks you've heard it first here and on target. From the chief meteorologist here in west seeing Judy live and thank you so much for being with us your loyal loving everybody. We will see you again next week same time same station have a good. Sunny warm wonderful week everybody and if not don't blame us I feel bad about it. You've been listening to one target with any Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at Western New York in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions please write depending Wolfgang it's 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.