At the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, children don’t just learn about science and the weather, they help measure it.
Thanks to WNBC and other corporate sponsors, a state-of-the-art AirWatch WeatherNet Station was recently installed on the roof of this school, located on Parsons Boulevard in Flushing.
It is one of seven regional weather stations set up in Queens by NBC to help track snowstorms, heat waves and other meteorological events throughout the tri-state area.
With it, measurements of local humidity, temperature, heat index, dew point, windchill and precipitation are taken and sent to the weather headquarters at the NBC offices in Manhattan. The results are then broadcast by weathermen on television and over the Internet, with live updates.
Chris Cimino, NBC meteorologist and Ozone Park native, visited the school last Friday to explain to the students just how the whole system works.
“Originally, most weather measurements were taken from airports where Doppler radar and other weather equipment used to be,” he said in a talk to 7th and 8th graders in the earth science classroom where the weathernet hard drive is stored.
“But now, as instruments have gotten more and more sophisticated, we are able to set them up at regional locations like this in order to pinpoint atmospheric changes as they happen.”
Cimino went on to explain that by combining these reports with cutting-edge computer programs, meteorologists are able to forecast the weather for up to 15 days in the future, with a fairly high degree of accuracy.
“Of course, I still get phone calls when our forecasts are wrong, but the advances that have been made over the past few years have been tremendous,” he said.
He also mentioned that these local weather stations, in addition to the Doppler radar atop the NBC offices in Manhattan, serve as primary weather information sources for the area.
NBC also has weather stations set up at St. Francis Prep, in Fresh Meadows, PS 95 in Jamaica, New York Hall of Science in Corona, PS 71 in Ridgewood, the International High School at LaGuardia College in Long Island City and the Joseph P. Addabbo School in Ozone Park.
The students of Mr. Brian Riley, the Solomon Schechter science teacher in charge of the station, are excited about sharing a classroom with these weather instruments.
“In the past Mr. Riley has brought in newts, frogs, turtles, bearded dragons and all sorts of scientific stuff,” said Ory Rinat, an eighth grader. “He’s great at bringing science alive and showing us how things work.”
To find out about the weather measurements taken at the Solomon Schechter school, tune in to NBC news, or check out their web site at www.WNBC.com.