FIU Shines in Intercollegiate Weather Forecasting Competition

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Photo 1: Top row left to right: Mike Fischer, Tony Cosio, Joe Zagrodnik, Natacha Galindo, Yamil Perez Bottom row left to right: Jonathan Rodriguez, Alannah Irwin, Andres Montoya, Albert Betancourt

Photo 2: Left to right: Alannah Irwin, Brian Matilla, Cheng Tao

It was a record year for the competition with over 1,400 active participants. Since September, we have been forecasting the high/low temperature, wind speed, and precipitation for 10 different cities across the country. Participants this year were: Andres Montoya, Albert Betancourt, Szandra Peter, Brian Matilla, Javiera Hernandez, Jonathan Furst, Cheng Tao, Joseph Zagrodnik, Jonathan Rodriguez, Katia Sanchez, Alannah Irwin, Mike Fischer, Yamil Perez, Anthony Cosio, Cody Fishman, Pete Curran, and Natacha Galindo.

This was our second year in the competition. We had a larger team than last year and finished 35th in the national standings out of 52 eligible schools. We finished higher in the standings than both Florida State and Miami, which have more established meteorology programs! Penn State was the national champion for the second consecutive year.

Here are some of the individual accomplishments of our participants:
-Mike Fischer was our top forecaster for the second straight year: he finished in 122nd place overall.
-We had three participants qualify for the end of the year tournament by finishing in the top 40 of their respective categories: Mike Fischer (junior/senior category), Brian Matilla (freshman/sophomore category), and Szandra Peter (freshman/sophmore category).

>From our FIU team, our winners and runners up for each city were as follows (overall rank out of ~1,400 forecasters in parentheses):
Pensacola, FL: Pete Curran (54) and Alannah Irwin (115)
Billings, MT: Joe Zagrodnik (137) and Mike Fischer (161)
Louisville, KY: Jonathan Furst (348) and Javiera Hernandez/Tony Cosio (tied for 406)
Astoria, OR: Brian Matilla (149) and Alannah Irwin (223)
Syracuse, NY: Mike Fischer (279) and Tony Cosio (794)
Austin TX: Szandra Peter (39) and Mike Fischer (45)
Burbank, CA: Szandra Peter (342) and Alannah Irwin (398)
Newark, NJ: Alannah Irwin (151) and Brian Matilla (214)
Duluth, MN: Cheng Tao (5) and Mike Fischer (35)
Des Moines, IA: Joe Zagrodnik (63) and Mike Fischer (177)

Cheng Tao's 5th place finish at Duluth, MN was the top score in the graduate student category and she is receiving a trophy for her accomplishment!