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‘It’s like quiet chaos’: National Weather service meteorologists save lives

Mike Nicco at NWS.png
Posted at 1:38 PM, Apr 11, 2024

PLEASANT HILL, Mo. — The work to keep Kansas Citians safe from severe weather takes a team of professionals working around the clock, 365 days a year.

“It’s like quiet chaos” National Weather Service - Pleasant Hill warning coordination meteorologist Jonathan Kurtz said of the work he and his team perform during storm season. “We’re just constantly communicating on the floor.”

They start their forecast about seven days out, and if a big storm appears to develop, they plan out staffing plan to make sure they’re covered 24/7.

Even within the weather office, certain meteorologists have specific roles.

A mesoscale meteorologist who monitor and determine the instability of storms. Another type is the warning meteorologist, who determines when to call the warning that go out to the Kansas City area.

“Let’s say they see a hail core start to develop; they’ll draw the polygon that you see on TV that gets sent out to the world,” Kurtz said.

From there, another team, like the KSHB 41 Weather team, communicates information out to the public.