I am Johnny Parker and I am 20. I have studied the weather since I was 5. I have cerebral palsy and my goal is to become a meteorologist.
By: JohnnyParker , 11:08 AM GMT on April 27, 2012
My weather career began when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I was in first grade and a bad storm came through one night. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what storms were or how they formed. I heard lightning, thunder, heavy rain, and wind that night. The next morning, I got up and was getting ready for school when my mom told us to come outside. Our big apple tree had fallen over and had nearly hit the side of our house. At that moment, I knew what my job was going to be and that was a meteorologist.
So, I started watching The Weather Channel and our local TV station, WTVA, out of Tupelo, MS. I met WTVA’s former chief meteorologist, Dick Rice, when I was about 9 or 10 years old. We talked about weather and Hurricane Andrew. My first weather interest was tracking and watching Hurricanes. I always wanted to be in one, but I couldn’t. The 2004 and 2005 Hurricane Season’s were both very busy especially the 2005 season. I remember watching The Weather Channel when Wilma, Katrina, Rita, Ivan, and all them hit somewhere on the coast.
In the summer of 2007, I had gotten two books on Hurricanes from our local library. As I was sitting there, a question came to mind. Was there somewhere that had a list of every single storm in each basin? So, I went and asked my mom. She found it on Wikipedia. A full list of tropical seasons with some dating back to before 1492 in the Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific, North Indian Ocean, and Southern Hemisphere. I started to creating a Hurricane Book. This includes the storms of each basin and the years that they formed in. I got finished with it in 2008.
In 2008, I became a member of the CoCoRahs (Community of Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network) and also a trained weather spotter for the National Weather Service. I also began work on putting every hurricane, typhoon, and cyclone of each ocean basin in Microsoft Excel. I finished with that in 2009. After I finished that, I began working on putting all the storms of each basin in Microsoft Excel. I finished that in 2010.
Early 2010, I was sitting at my computer, thinking of ways of how to get my forecast out to people. I had my cell phone with me and that’s when the idea came to mind. To start a weather text. At first, I did not think it would work out, but it has worked out better than I had expected. I started out with 32 and it grew from there. It grew so much that I had to start doing weather emails. I started out with only 6 people and it grew, too. I came up with “Master Meteorologist” as my weather name for my texts and emails.
On Christmas 2010, parts of the South had a white Christmas. I was so excited because I had predicted it the night before. Although, I did not expect the major winter storm of January 2011 that brought 6+ inches of snow for the South. Both were very rare to see across the South, so I enjoyed it.
The 2011 Severe Weather Season, I thought, would be above-average in activity, but not that bad. Both February and March were not bad with the exception of two outbreaks that occurred at the beginning and end of March. April 2011 brought our severe weather/tornado season in full force. April 27th, 2011 was extremely devastating across the South. That day is when Smithville, MS got hit by a tornado. My family and I survived without a single scratch, but our home was destroyed.
Since April 27th, 2011, I have moved into a new house and have met several famous meteorologist. I have met people from the National Weather Service in Memphis, Birmingham, and Kansas, meteorologist Bill Murray from Birmingham, people from Mississippi State University, people from MEMA and FEMA, and Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel. My weather text has increased to 188 and my weather emails have also increased up to 60. I have been doing a weather blog at Weatherunderground.com since January 2011. One of my goals since April 27th is to get as many people on my weather text/emails as possible.
Also, I have created a new version of my Hurricane Book in early 2011. I did it on Microsoft Word and I am up to date on it. I have also put all the big severe weather outbreaks in Microsoft Excel. I have found new weather websites and new weather software that I now use. This includes: SimuAwips, Weather Defender, and GRlevelx 2 Analyst.
I feel more prepared than ever before now. Now, whenever there is a threat of severe weather, I get up at 5am. I hope that an outbreak like April 27th does not happen again in my lifetime, but there will always be a possibility.
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