Article written by Anna Behning. Photo taken by Karlyn Dobmeier–editor in chief.


On Oct. 12 and 13, the Department of Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences at St. Cloud State University will host the 14th annual Northern Plains Weather Workshop. The event is open to graduate and undergraduate students, attending any college or university, as well as weather enthusiasts in both the private and public sectors.

The two-day conference will give the opportunity for students to network and get immersed in the latest weather research developments. It pushes for collaboration between attendees, current meteorologists and practitioners in the field.

The event will take place at Atwood Memorial Center on SCSU’s campus, with Dr. Patrick Skinner presenting as this year’s keynote speaker, for his first time in attendance at the conference. Skinner is a research scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory. The keynote programming and presentations will be centered on the “Worn-on-Forecast” project.

Skinner encourages students interested in meteorology to attend the workshop to gain insight into thunderstorms and expand their knowledge of the forecast system. The conference will give him a chance to speak on recent research in Okla., exposing it to unfamiliar audiences.

Skinner strives to be a mentor to current students through his field mentorship and undergrad and graduate studies. “It is not always easy as a young person to think about all the time you have. There is no rush and plenty of time to experience new ideas and interests [in meteorology].”

The Northern Plains Weather Workshop emphasizes networking in meteorology. “It’s important to get plugged into the latest research developments,” Skinner said. “As you gain more exposure to different research and forecast projects, you discover your interests in meteorology.”

As meteorologists, it is crucial to stay informed in the dynamic field. Meteorology has become broader with technological advancements in the last five years. Forecasting has developed with more accurate predictions through weather models, enabling a new kind of prediction with computing capabilities.

This year’s conference will push the education of these advancements for the future of meteorology. “I’m looking forward to getting a different perspective of meteorology,” said Skinner. “There have been exciting developments in the last couple of experimental forecast systems, and it has been gratifying to share it with the National Weather Research Center.”

St. Cloud State University’s Department of Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences is the only school in the state of Minn. to offer hydrology and meteorology. The 2022 Northern Plains Weather Workshop is sponsored by the department and the St. Cloud Student Chapter of the American Meteorology Society.

Some of the last topics discussed at the workshop included: the effects of climate change, observations of clouds and the lake effect of snow forecasting. Past presenters include: Bob Henson, a climatologist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.; Heather Reeves and Jon Nelson.

The two-day event will include a banquet luncheon on day one of the conference, with costs for the lunch included in the registration fee. Hotel accommodations in St. Cloud can be found on the Northern Plains Weather Workshop Website. Registration for the event closed Oct. 5, 2022.

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