Young forecasters eager to be a professional meteorologist someday have found a way to get some forecasting experience before that college diploma is in hand.
Foot's Forecast is an international company of college and high school age weather forecasters that started in Baltimore but now is in 28 U.S. states -- including here in Washington -- New Zealand and the United Kingdom. They do work with several government agencies, including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the City of Kennewick.
Mark Ingalls, who lives in Kennewick, does a daily forecast for the Tri-Cities and Seattle areas, as well as more often updates during snow storms and severe weather.
"I also create weather graphics when interesting things are going on. I put them on Facebook, one page for the Tri-Cities and another for Seattle," he says. He has several hundred followers on his Tri-Cities page and on Twitter.
Ingalls, 18, says has loved studying weather his entire life. "I was listening to a podcast named Weather Brains, and they were talking about Foot's Forecast so I Googled it and was on the team the next day!" he said.
A few adult advisers who help with collaboration, setting up the website, and to give further training.
"My favorite part of forecasting is being able to have people trust me and come to me for weather information," he said. "There are many people in the Tri-Cities who tell me 'I don't even watch the news anymore, I just go to your page.' "
He hopes to join the Air Force and then maybe go into broadcast meteorology once he retires.
If you're interested in joining Foot's Forecast teams, you can go to FootsForecast.org. And if you're a young, aspiring meteorologist in Western Washington, don't forget about Marysville's WeatherOn group as they are recruiting forecasters as well.