Weather Answers: Lighter Thoughts

March 20, 2009

I have a few minutes before the 2 hour finale of BSG begins.  I'll be working during the 2nd half so that'll be this weekend's viewing.  We don't have any significant weather coming up the next few days…the heavy moisture with the approaching large trough heads into California, leaving us with lighter showers, mainly on Sunday only.  My plan is to plant some fruit trees and strawberries tomorrow so it had better stay dry.  Okay, let's do some more answers to your questions.

1. From EFLOW: Mark, Can you still derive the omega equation?  No!  I have not used Calculus, Algebra, or Differential Equations for 18 years and don't remember hardly any of it…let's be serious here, I point at a green wall every day and do some simple data analysis at times, plus some statistics.

2. From Mike-Orchards:  Mark, what is your favorite kind of "exciting" weather…windstorms, snow, cold, t-storms?  I would say thunderstorms are the most exciting for me since we don't get them much here.  But extremes of any sort are great.

3. From MCP: Hey Mark, What are your theories on how Battlestar Galactica is going to end?  We'll know in a few hours…but my gut feeling is just a few people will be left on a "new" earth…which maybe is in our past?  The Truth is Out There…wait, wrong show, nevermind.

4. From Jackfrost-Beaverton: What is the tackiest thing or the biggest goof up you have done for our viewing pleasure?  Okay, this is the one I have always felt badly about:  about 10 years ago I was doing a live shot (for KOIN) down at the tulip farm in Woodburn. I was interviewing a great kid who works on his family's farm down there.  I said "don't you think it's kind of a girlie thing to hang out at a flower farm?".  The poor kid (maybe 10 years old?) just got quiet for a minute and I moved on.  But I always felt horrible and REALLY stupid for saying something like that.  Oh, and that was live on-air too.  And as I recall, I had been planting flowers and vegetables in my own garden that spring.  What a moron eh?  That kid is probably 20 years old now.  I got quite a few "pig chauvenist" emails and calls, for good reason.

5. From CNR-VAN-WA: Mark, Have you ever seen a tornado? Have you ever been though a hurricane? Yes, I saw a tornado while in map-drawing class up at the UW in April, 1991.  Strange place don't you think? I did fly with the Hurricane Hunters back in 1998;  they take media on flights.  It was Hurricane Georges and we went through the eye 6 times, then I puked.  It was quite an experience, but don't eat a warm sandwich halfway through the flight.

6. From Karl Andres: What kind of material is the news desk made of. Also how do you get the backround to switch from night to day behind the desk? Ah, an operational question.  News desks, just like hollywood sets, are made to look nice and be slightly functional…nothing else.  So it's plywood, some plexiglass, and faux marble laminate over the top.  The background in the back is a big light box (flourescents inside) that flips on a rod.  The covering is a duratrans (colored, semi-transparent plastic) on each side.  Day on one side, night on the other.  The floor people unplug it and then flip at the appropriate times.

7.  From Yevgeniy-Beaverton: Mark, what is your all time favorite weather moment in the most recent decade?  The big ice/snow storms are fun (2004, 2008, 1998), but there's something about the dramatic onset of our big windstorms.  I clearly remember about 12:30pm on December 12th, 1995. We were finishing up the noon show on KOIN and the studio lights blinked on and off, even though the wind hadn't arrived yet on Valley obs. or downtown.  That was an obvious and ominous "the storm has arrived" moment.  For that reason that day is probably my favorite weather moment.

8.  From Steve Pierce: Please take an educated guess at the following — What do you think is the "median" salary range is for a Portland on-air television Meteorologist? Please take into account all shifts, all days of the week, all backgrounds, all experience & education levels, and all stations. Also, take your best guess at what is the shortest, longest and average length of an on-air TV Meteorologist's contract in Portland? Generally, none of us know what others make, although one can guess right?  I tell school kids in my "career day" presentation that the median might be 80,000 or so.  Seems reasonable, but there's a wide range above and below that (very wide).  Average contract length?  Probably 3 years.  They are almost always 2 to 5 years.