Friday, May 5, 2017

Meteorologist Todd Gutner visits Jordan-Small School by Lorraine Glowczak

The sixth-grade students from Lynne Estey’s science class, at Jordon-Small Middle School, had the opportunity to learn the ropes of a meteorologist from the WCSH Channel 6 TV station in Portland. Morning weatherman Todd Gutner spoke to the crowd of 11 and 12-year-olds about the science behind weather on Thursday, April 27 in the school’s library.
He began his talk by stating that, as a morning weatherman he must get up by 2:00 a.m. to be on the air by 6:00 a.m. “In the winter,” Gutner began. “I get up at 1:15 a.m. Winter weather is a little more complicated and takes more time to prepare for the morning broadcast.”

Gutner stated that he has a great time being a meteorologist, explaining that often he and the other co-hosts tell jokes and laugh with one another. 

“There are times, however, when things are serious,” Gutner explained. “Weather can be a very serious topic because it can be dangerous and affect daily life.”

As an example, he spoke about the thunderstorms he has covered over the years. Specifically, a thunderstorm that developed into a tornado warning in the Rangeley/Farmington area and most of the Carrabassett Valley a couple of years ago. was at this point students got to view a live broadcast of Gutner on air during that tornado warning. By watching the video, they got a better understanding of the science behind summer meteorological conditions such as velocity, high air pressure, low air pressure, the exact definition of a tornado warning and the difference between a cyclone and a funnel cloud.

The students also discovered that tornados are labeled into specific categories. Based upon the Fujita Scale, a scale for rating tornadoes established upon the amount of damage it has caused, tornadoes are given between a F1(least amount of damage) to F5 (the most damage.)

“In Maine, there has never been a tornado greater than an F2,” Gutner said.

Gutner discussed what to do during a tornado warning to keep safe. His suggestions included going to the lowest point in the home, staying away from windows and using pillows and blankets for protection.
6th students prepare to be filmed for TV

Students were given an opportunity for question and answers. Lightening was one major topic of discussion, including the occasional “bolt from the blue” lightning. This occurrence is a lightning bolt that can strike many miles away from the thunderstorm cloud that produces it and can be exceptionally dangerous.

The morning talk ended with the 6th grade class being filmed by Gutner himself in front of “Stormy”, the Channel 6 weather vehicle, for the Friday morning’s broadcast. If you missed last Friday morning’s weather broadcast, the students got the opportunity to be on air at 6:55 a.m. telling the viewers who they were and what school they were from. Their on-air limelight ended with the morning shout, “Wake Up!”

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