For Engineers and Storm Warning Meteorologists

Some advice to colleagues in engineering and storm warning meteorology:

I have a lot of experience in engineering* as well as a degree in meteorology and a career focusing on extreme weather. When combined with what I learned from Dr. Ted Fujita about a forensic approach to meteorology, it all served me extremely well during my career in television as well as in my second career in commercial meteorology which began in 1981. The "engineering mindset" served me extremely well and does to this day. 

In both storm warning meteorology and engineering, mistakes can equal hundreds of lost lives. With the recent NASA commemorations pertaining to Apollo 1 and the Challenger and Columbia mishaps, a statement written by the great Gene Kranz of NASA Mission Control came to my attention. I believe it is an important contribution to the mindset needed -- every day -- by both professions. With tornado season coming up (and indications it may be a busy one), I highly recommend it. 
*I went to the University of Oklahoma in 1970 to get a degree in meteorology because of its location in tornado alley and its focus on storms. But, the capper was they offered a double degree in meteorology and engineering. In my senior year, the State Board of Regents decided to cancel the program because I was the only student in it, even though I had taken all but three of the engineering courses (!). So, I have a BS in meteorology and minors in engineering and mathematics. 

As engineers we learned to do everything on slide rules (I was in the final class with required slide rule training and use of slide rules on department exams). That topic came up with the last Boeing 747 being delivered earlier this week. That magnificent aircraft was designed on slide rules in the late 1960's. Amazingly, it was just three years from initial design to first flight! I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't be better off training engineers on slide rules since they require a person to really get inside the problem. Computerization does not require that level of deep thinking. 


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