Our meteorologists here at News 13 use a lot of tools to bring you an accurate forecast, but perhaps their most valuable asset isn't something, but rather someone.
They're our eyes and ears on the ground all across northwest Florida. who are they you might ask, they're the News 13 Weather Watchers.
As meteorologists we strive to deliver you a forecast you can rely on. That forecast you see on television is only created through hours of deliberation. Pages filled with data, computer models, satellite, and radar are just some of things we look at when putting the numbers to the days. However, much like history, we can't know where we're going without knowing where we are or where we've been. We need to know what's going in your neighborhood, and that's where our weather watchers come in. Jim Broaddous, up at the Bear Creek Feline Center, is one of our many Weather Watchers across the area and explains what first got him interested in helping out.
"I would hear these people up in Holmes County around Marianna and I thought that was pretty neat and I kinda waited in line until there was an opening." Said Broaddous "And we've been doing it ever since."
Every morning and evening the Broaddus' call in to the 13 First Alert Storm Center with their weather report, which they pull off their all-in-one weather station.
"It's interfaced with a sensor outside which tells us things like the outdoor temperature, the relative humidity, the dew point, wind direction, it'll give us future forecast information." Broaddus explains.
That information is then received by us here at News 13 and put into the system.
Our Weather Watchers really are our eyes and ears, they're real people out there on the ground and we've got Weather Watchers all over the Florida Panhandle, covering from Walton County to Franklin County." Says 13 First Alert Chief Meteorologist Justin Kiefer. "So they just give us a great appreciation and an understanding of what's happening real time for real people all over Northwest Florida.
Like a lot of folks say 'No one lives at the airport' so all of the observations that we get away from the official recording sites really allow us to let you know what's going on in your community. If you want to become a weather watcher for News 13, let us know. All you really need is a properly set up thermometer and a rain gauge.
Not only do Weather Watchers give us valuable information, but our they allow us to build long lasting relationships in communities across Northwest Florida. Believe it or not some have been calling in for over 20 years.