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GIS Internship Update

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Just a quick update on the GIS internship…the interview went very well yesterday. Here’s a jist of the conversation:

-They explained to me that 95% of the work is fulfilling map requests for other departments within Ducks Unlimited. The 5% will involve conducting spatial analyses and areal photo interpretation for wetland delineation. So basically my primary job will be as a map maker.

-They reiterated that the position would be for one year, full-time, 8-5 pm M-F. It is, of course, a paid position and the pay is pretty good for the cost of living I think. It would be the most money I’ve ever made on a job…realizing my history as a poor college student lol.

-Besides the standard human resources questions, they asked me about my experience troubleshooting ArcGIS software, any programming experience I may have, remote sensing experience, and field work experience. As far as troubleshooting goes, I explained I have had moments in the past where the software has given me trouble and I’ve either worked through it, gone to a help page, or just asked for help. I said I don’t profess to be an expert, but would do what I could to fix issues which come up. As far as programming experience, I mentioned my course in the FORTRAN programming language (used in the meteorology world), but besides that, I have a some experience in Structured Query Language (SQL), which is used for database management (and ArcGIS has a SQL Query Builder in which SQL syntax is used to select subsets of information from a database or table). I used SQL at a job here in Lincoln back in 2011-2012 and then learned about it more in my GIS classes. For remote sensing, I mentioned my satellite image interpretation for both meteorological and geographic/land use purposes in my education and my experience in my geography job position at South Dakota State University. For field work, I actually mentioned my extracurricular field experience with the Nebraska Storm Chase Team…something I’ve been participating in off and on since 2009. I explained the process of being out in the field, dealing with long hours, heat, and the process of observing phenomena in the field (and of course, in that case it was all voluntary). It is extremely unlikely I will do any field work, but they asked anyway just in case.

-As far as when I could start, I said I probably start at the end of October or beginning of November. Obviously, more details will be hashed out if I’m hired. They joked that they pretty much need somebody “tomorrow”. They’ve been without a GIS Intern for several months and so are looking for someone to fill the position as quickly as possible…but are flexible to the needs of someone needing to move to Bismarck from well outside the commuting area.

-They said they would get back to me in about a week or so after checking my references and I submitting my background check form and scanned copy of my driver’s license (which I did yesterday after the interview).

So that’s about it. I will keep everyone informed. Hopefully next week I will hear something.

GIS Internship Opportunity

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Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve kind of neglected the blog, been very busy with life lately. But I have some good news to share (which will hopefully turn into great news). I have an interview Wednesday morning for a geographic information systems internship in Bismarck, ND! The interview will be over the phone. It is for the conservation organization Ducks Unlimited. It is my first job interview for a position which requires a bachelor’s degree. They emailed me mid-week last week, calling me a strong candidate for the position. The position would involve air photo interpretation, wetland delineation for conservation efforts, maintenance of their geodatabases, as well as mapping. Some field work would be required as well. The internship would last for one year. I would imagine I’d start maybe in late October or early November. And of course, I would have to move to North Dakota for the position.

I was kind of shocked someone was finally interested in me for anything. Out of all the bachelor’s degree jobs I’ve applied for in 2014, this is the only call-back I’ve received. I have good GIS experience from coursework, but also geospatial research experience having dealt with wetlands in the paid job for a PhD research project at South Dakota State University (that one dealt with satellite photo interpretation and delineation of wetlands relating to public health and malaria in Africa). I also have a bit of education on wetland conversation and wildlife/fisheries. So yeah, cross your fingers everyone!

I’ll try to update the blog again this evening on Hurricane Odile and maybe other things :)

Nine year anniversary of landfall of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi

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Today is the nine-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina as a very large and lethal category three storm. Hard to believe it’s already been so long. I was 21 years old at the time of this event. I wasn’t there, but obviously, the events of that day and days after made a major impression on not only America, but the world. A lot of studies related to meteorology and geography came as a result of Katrina; the meteorological evolution of the storm itself, the damaging effects on land, the dispersal and population recovery of New Orleans, the physiography of SE Louisiana, including the local wetland ecology and very low elevation on which a major city was built on, as well as engineering issues related to levee protection. I think I’ll never forget the tragic loss of life…over 1800 confirmed deaths, most in Louisiana, with a significant number in Mississippi. Very sad indeed. Hopefully various lessons were and are continued to be gained from Katrina to try to prevent this catastrophe from happening again. Although, I fear, that as more people continue to move to urban centers along the coast, the threat of catastrophic landfalling hurricane events will continue to grow…perhaps exacerbated by slowly rising sea levels by climate change over the next few centuries (too slow to spur rapid changes, but a notable effect nevertheless).

Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005 at 4:45pm CDT.
Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005 at 4:45pm CDT.

Kilauea Volcano lava flow could threaten homes in coming weeks

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Hawaii volcano lava flow could threaten homes

6.0 Magnitude quake strikes South Napa in California

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There appear to be no reports of major structural damage or serious injuries…although I did read reports of up to 70 people visiting a Napa hospital for minor injuries and some mason buildings did suffer some damage.

EDIT at 10:08am CDT: There appears to have been four homes destroyed because of the earthquake in the Napa area. A ruptured gas line started a fire which caused four mobile homes to catch fire with several others damaged.

EDIT at 10:56am CDT: The Associated Press is now reporting three people were critically injured in the South Napa Earthquake.


By @insanity111111 on Twitter


Photo of TV news coverage by @Sharee925 on Twitter




By @AcmeHuntingGear on Twitter




In Search of Job Experience

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Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I start my third semester at Mississippi State tomorrow. I’ll be taking Advanced Hazards and Disasters and Tropical Meteorology. I’ll also resume working on my research beginning tomorrow. I’ll keep busy!

In the meantime, I’m in the hunt for job experience related to my fields of knowledge. After some test job searching (a rehearsal of the type of searching I would do after I receive my masters), I see a major problem…I have no relevant job experience. Not that my job experience I have is totally worthless, but I specifically I have no experience in either meteorology or GIS. Most jobs out there require some kind of experience to even apply. This is a problem I must solve if I have any chance of competing out in the job market. So for the past week, I’ve been in the search for paid internship positions related to meteorology or GIS which are truly entry-level…meaning, you can at least apply with no experience and only appropriate education. Without giving all the details (which is kinda pointless as I’m still waiting to have my qualifications to be evaluated), I’ve applied to seven positions so far, all federal govt jobs, except one county job. I was able to find a few permanent positions I could actually qualify for as well. All are located outside the state of Nebraska (haven’t been successful finding anything in Nebraska). Three permanent positions are meteorology-related with the National Weather Service, the rest are geography/cartography positions with the US Army (civilian internship…potential for permanent position), US Navy (civilian internship research; with my background may be either meteorology/physical science or GIS), US Geological Survey (internship…potential for permanent position), and one county job (permanent GIS technician position). I’m hoping I can get some positive traction out of this search for a professional-level position and that my bachelor’s degree is useful (master’s degree as well having completed some graduate school already).

My fiance has said she would be happy to move with me for a job which would help my career prospects out. The only negative is in fact moving. I have some money, but may not have enough to conduct a big move. Being poor stinks unfortunately. I have some ways of (possibly) getting extra money and I may try to utilize those routes as any one of these jobs would be a huge opportunity. Two of the federal meteorology positions actually pay for relocation expenses, although one of the locations…let’s just say…far far away from everything (almost didn’t apply there). Another is far away, but not nearly as bad. I’m routing for the latter, and actually sent an email to the job contact inquiring about something related to the position earlier today. Obviously, as applications are evaluated and I’m (hopefully) determined to be qualified for positions and perhaps enough to be referred for a possible interview, I’ll share more details of the job(s). I just don’t want to get any hopes up, especially my own. In the meantime, I continue to do my thing in Lincoln and wait and see what happens. I’ll continue applying to anymore internships/jobs which pop up I think I would have a shot at. So, wish me luck!

P.S-If I did happen to land a job or paid internship of some kind, I would continue school at Mississippi State. I only go to school half-time, so it leaves room for study time. Plus, I’m kind of on a roll with school and would like to finish up by the end of next year as planned…and in the meantime build up job experience so that I can (if the internship position ends for example) move on to another job position after graduation.

Meteorology Weekly – Issue 2

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Meteorology Weekly is a weekly post covering just a few of the interesting weather events which have occurred the previous week or are in progress nationally and beyond. Any interesting scientific studies will also be covered. Look for the post every weekend (usually Sunday) . Posts for significant weather events will still be done at my leisure and time during the course of the week, but regardless, events of interest will be covered in this digest.

In today’s issue-

Active Tropics – The remnants of Hurricane Bertha strikes the British Isles; Iselle makes landfall on the Big Island of Hawaii as a strong tropical storm; Hurricane Julio misses the state of Hawaii; Typhoon Halong makes landfall in Japan.

Western Drought Update.

15 years ago Monday…Salt Lake City F2 Tornado.


Active Tropics-

The tropics were yet again active with storms impacting three locations in the Atlantic and Pacific Basins, including a US landfall. Hurricane Iselle threatened the state of Hawaii and specifically the Big Island. It ultimately made landfall as a 60 mph tropical storm early Friday morning local time, making it the strongest landfalling tropical system on record for the Big Island and the strongest landfalling tropical system for Hawaii overall since Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The tropical storm resulted in damage from flooding, storm surge, as well as wind damage to crops and power outages.

Meteorologist and storm chaser Reed Timmer traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii to document the landfall of Tropical Storm Iselle on the island. He provided photos and video of the damage which resulted on the island.

Pavement scoured away from storm surge of Tropical Storm Iselle near Cape Kumukahi, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Reed Timmer.
Pavement scoured away from storm surge of Tropical Storm Iselle near Cape Kumukahi, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Reed Timmer.

Damage highlight video: HERE

Video of papaya field destroyed by damaging winds: HERE

Meanwhile, Typhoon Halong, which at one point was a category 5 equivalent typhoon weakened to a tropical storm just before making landfall in southern Japan Sunday morning local time. Significant flooding from heavy rain has been the main issue, although certainly wind damage and power outages were problematic as well.

Tropical Storm Halong making landfall in southern Japan on Saturday.
Tropical Storm Halong making landfall in southern Japan on Saturday.

Here’s a news story about Halong from Sunday: HERE

Finally, Hurricane Bertha, which had trouble organizing for much of its lifespan as a tropical cyclone, became “post-tropical” on August 6th and headed eastward toward the British Isles. It arrived over the British Isles and parts of Western Europe Monday bringing heavy rain, flooding and isolated tornadoes.

Image comparison provided by the NWS Ocean Prediction Center.
Image comparison provided by the NWS Ocean Prediction Center.
Tornadoes associated with ex-Bertha. Map provided by the European Severe Weather Database
Tornadoes associated with ex-Bertha. Map provided by the European Severe Weather Database.

Impressive photographs of the impact of post-tropical Bertha on the British Isles provided by viewers/readers to the BBC: HERE

Western US Drought Update -

The drought continues to be a problem in the West with more severe drought spreading into SE Oregon. California continues to be in extreme to exceptional across most of the state. Monthly outlooks show little relief with normal to above normal temps for parts of the West and near normal precip, although above normal precip may occur over parts of Colorado and New Mexico. The drought across much of the West is expected to maintain itself or even intensify over the next few months.


Climate Prediction Center forecasts available: HERE


Salt Lake City Tornado -

Monday was the 15 year anniversary of the incredible Salt Lake City Tornado. One person died and many others were injured in the event. Check out this extensive video of news coverage of the tornado.