Students participate in collegiate weather forecasting competition

Students participate in collegiate weather forecasting

Earth and Environment students participated in WxChallenge, the North American collegiate weather forecasting competition. This year, students started a weather forecasting team that competes against other meteorology programs across the country via the website run by the University of Oklahoma. This year the department had 10 forecasters (from undergraduate freshman to graduate students) who have been forecasting for various cities across the country since the beginning of October.

Report from team leader Joe Zagrodnik follows

I would like to recognize Michael Fischer, Vanessa Vinent, Joe Zagrodnik, Heather Vazquez, Jonathan Furst, Jennifer Gonzalez, Liliana Maya, Javiera Hernandez, and Pete Curran, who all finished the whole year. I would also like to recognize the following forecasters who joined the team and competed for at least part of the year: Brian Matilla (spring only), Albert Betancourt, Anthony Tuero, Charelle Trim, Astryd Rodriguez, Michael Marconi, Natacha Galindo-Lopez and Cody Fishman.

As a team, we finished in 42nd place nationally out of about 55 schools, which places us ahead of Florida State and slightly behind the University of Miami. Not bad for our first year. Penn State is the national champion this year.

Our overall winner was Michael Fischer, who finished in 171st place nationally (out of over 1,500 forecasters). Vanessa Vinent finished in 2nd place (339th place overall).

For each two-week period, the top 3 forecasters were as follows. The winners for each city (excluding repeat winners) received a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card courtesy of Dr. Hickey-Vargas.

  • Fall 2011
    • Miami, FL: 1st: Michael Fischer, 2nd: Joe Zagrodnik, 3rd: Pete Curran
    • Riverton, WY: 1st: Michael Fischer (6th place nationally!), 2nd: Vanessa Vinent, 3rd: Joe Zagrodnik
    • Dayton, OH: 1st: Charelle Trim, 2nd: Jonathan Furst, 3rd: Vanessa Vinent
    • Juneau, AK: 1st: Michael Fischer, 2nd: Vanessa Vinent, 3rd: Liliana Maya
    • Erie, PA: 1st: Michael Fischer, 2nd: Heather Vazquez, 3rd: Vanessa Vinent
  • Spring 2012:
    • New Orleans, LA: 1st: Vanessa Vinent, 2nd: Jonathan Furst, 3rd: Heather Vazquez
    • Providence, RI: 1st: Michael Fischer, 2nd: Joe Zagrodnik, 3rd: Vanessa Vinent
    • Albuquerque, NM: 1st: Heather Vazquez, 2nd: Joe Zagrodnik, 3rd: Michael Fischer
    • Hilo, HI: 1st: Michael Fischer, 2nd: Brian Matilla, 3rd: Vanessa Vinent
    • Lincoln, NE: 1st: Joe Zagrodnik, 2nd: Vanessa Vinent, 3rd: Jennifer Gonzalez

Thanks again to everyone for participating this year. I hope to continue to grow the team next year. Sign up for the 2012-2013 season will be in September. The competition is open to literally everyone (all undergraduates, graduates, and faculty); you do not have to be a meteorology student, it only requires 5-10 minutes of your time 4 days/week, and it costs only $5 for the whole year. So I hope to have a big group again this fall.