Day or night: Weather flight keeps Airmen safe

  • Published
  • By Airman Hannah Bean
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Mississippi weather is known to have spontaneous or seemingly odd weather patterns that gives the 14th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight challenges to overcome.

After close coordination with the 26th Operational Weather Squadron, the weather flight was able to provide quick, detailed information to base residents and kept watch over a severe weather threat Feb. 23, covering a large part of the Lowndes County area.

Days ahead, the weather flight utilized numerical models to determine favorable conditions for severe weather potential for the Columbus area and collaborated with the 26th OWS on the threat via teleconference. On the typical day preceding severe weather potential, the standby forecaster normally activates the Severe Weather Action Team while continually keeping eyes on the radar.

On Feb. 23, there were three personnel that came in due to the threat level increasing. While on shift, they issued weather warnings, watches, and advisories and ensured notifications were disseminated out via Joint Environmental Toolkit (JET) software.

Responsibilities were split up; one would answer telephone calls, one would issue, cancel or extend any watch warning or advisory as needed, and lastly one individual would constantly monitor radar, interrogating for any tornadic or severe thunderstorm generation. As a cohesive weather team, severe weather information was passed to the base through the command post to keep Airmen and their families safe and prepared.

Jeremiah Story, 14th OSS lead meteorological technician said the weather flights briefings and products are intended to support the 14 FTW’s flying mission by providing timely and accurate forecasts by creating and publishing their Mission Weather Product.

“They can do better mission planning based off of our forecasts,” Story said. “We’re constantly monitoring for any inclement weather that will impact not only the flying mission, but for base resource protection as well.”

Story said his weather flight collaborates with the 26th OWS on their terminal forecast, as well as when we have been identified in a threat area for severe weather to ensure they get out an accurate depiction of threats that may be coming.

The 26th OWS from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, is responsible for producing and disseminating mission planning and execution weather analyses and hazard charts, Terminal Area Forecasts (TAFs), and briefings for various locations in their region.

With persistent monitoring of the radar and accurate forecasting of weather patterns, the weather flight is able to accurately brief pilots and squadrons on their ability to fly hours or days ahead. They also provide all base agencies weather forecasts as requested.

In addition, the weather flight provides resource protection with warnings or watches on severe weather threatening the base.

With the weather constantly changing day to day, the challenges enhance the Airmen’s ability in providing accurate forecasts in a timely fashion.

“I like the up tempo aspect of it,” said Airman 1st Class Lauren Rodgers, 14th OSS weather apprentice. “I enjoy the people I get to work with and learning about the science behind weather and the impacts it has on pilots. It’s exciting, it’s different, and it’s never boring.”

Weather is an unpredictable force of nature, however, with accurate critical weather analysis, these Airmen are able to aid in creating pilots and protecting Team BLAZE.