Philip Studler, a meteorologist with the 88th Operations Support Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, works at the weather station on base operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Loren Deer)

WPAFB meteorologists protect base operations, resources with forecasts

Meteorologists at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base constantly work to give updates on current and upcoming weather conditions to ensure base operations run smoothly.

Currently, eight meteorologists at the 88th Operations Support Squadron provide year-round, 24/7 support for base operations and resource protection.

John Turnbull, 88th OSS base weather station assistant site manager, said part of the daily routine is to go outside to the designated observing point and take weather observations at least once every hour to ensure accurate observations are recorded for local weather conditions at Wright-Patterson AFB.

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Scott Lutz, 88th OSS meteorologist, said, “In addition to daily mission support and resource protection for the installation, the team works with forecasters from the 15th Operational Weather Squadron at Scott AFB, Illinois, to coordinate a 30-hour aerodrome forecast for the base.”

Regarding the upcoming winter season, Lutz said forecasters primarily use local climatology products, as well as products such as the long-range winter outlook produced by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, to produce a general forecast for customers such as the 88th Civil Engineering Group for winter season preparations.

Lutz said the current forecast for the first half of winter is expected to be warmer and slightly drier than normal. The forecast calls for significantly warmer conditions in the western United States, which ultimately impacts weather at Wright-Patterson. If this pattern is strong and persists for long periods of time, especially through mid and late winter, that could actually result in a colder second half of the season, allowing polar air to dive out of Canada, impacting areas east of the Mississippi.

Turnbull added that they predict slightly less than regular snowfall this winter, with the average snowfall in the Miami Valley being 24.2 inches of snow total.

Decisions regarding delayed arrival or base closure will be communicated through the WPAFB Emergency Mass Notification System, website announcements, radio and television. The most accurate weather delay information will be located on the Wright-Patterson website and snowline 656-7669 (SNOW).

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