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Chong Weathers a Challenge

Aug. 15, 2011 – William Chong, a senior geography major from Alexandria, Va., volunteered with the National Weather Service (NWS) Blacksburg office to fulfill his undergraduate research credit requirements. Every Wednesday, Chong shadowed the office’s senior meteorologist, who collected nightly weather data and updated the evening forecast.

During his time at the NWS, Chong was assigned to compile a reference booklet that is now used by Department of Transportation workers in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Given only a few guidelines about the final product, Chong created a comprehensive booklet that included information on how to navigate the NWS Blacksburg website and where to locate specific weather data. Phil Hysell, warning coordinator meteorologist for the NWS Blacksburg office, was extremely impressed by Chong’s work and has received positive feedback on
the booklet. “Many people have told me that this booklet has been extremely helpful for locating specific forecast information that may only be needed a few times a year,” said Hysell. Although Chong’s internship is over, he periodically volunteers at the NWS Blacksburg office when assistance is needed on various projects.

Last summer Chong spent two weeks storm chasing in the Great Plains with a team of Virginia Tech students, which included spending up to 12 hours a day in a minivan. “The students were like the forecasters for our professor, who was the driver,” said Chong. “We were looking at models every morning and figuring out where to position ourselves for storms.” Chong, who has applied to graduate school and wants to pursue a career in meteorology, was also the lead photographer on the trip.

    CNRE Newsmagazine Summer 2011 Cover

Summer 2011

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