Steve and Sue Weygandt live in Longmont, CO with our three children,
Sue and I met at Penn State in 1986 (we were both meteorology majors) and got married in 1989. After Penn State, we lived in Norman, OK for 10 years. I got a Ph.D and did a post-doc in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma and Sue worked as a graphic artist for the university.
Photo - Grand Teton family backpack, August 2009.
We did lots of tornado chasing (before it became a yahoo sport). I did research on ways to use Doppler radar data in computer weather models to improve thunderstorm forecasts. Norman has a great meteorology community and it was a lot of fun to model severe thunderstorms on the computer then go out and observe them for real. Unfortunately, it is about 400 degrees there all summer long and almost as flat as Illinois.
In 2000, I got a job as a research meteorologist at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) laboratory in Boulder. I have worked at the Earth System Research Laboratory for the past 10 years and now head the assimilation development section. My group does research in an area known as “meteorological data assimilation”, where we blend all sorts of weather observations (especially satellite and radar data) to get the best “initial conditions” for starting the computer weather predictions. We focus on short range predictions of hazardous weather and recently won a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for our work using radar data in computer models to better predict thunderstorms. The work is exciting and I have gotten to travel to some interesting places, including England, France, Australia, and China. This summer, we are demo-ing a new system that makes county-scale predictions for the whole country. You can see the latest prediction at our website: http://rapidrefresh.noaa.gov/hrrrconus/
Photo - Playing in the slots, Utah canyon country.
It is hard to believe that we have lived in Colorado for 10 years now. Our kids are growing up fast and their activities keep us busy. Scott really likes math and science and seems destined to be some kind of engineer. Jenny loves writing, her soccer team, and socializing with her friends. Kathy likes reading, gymnastics and trying to do everything her older brother and sister do. They are all in scouting, on the local swim team, and love to go skiing.
The Colorado Front Range is a great place to live with a great climate (lots of snow and sunshine) and lots of outdoor recreation activities. Living in the west, has given me the opportunity to do outdoor adventures that I only dreamed of growing up in Illinois. We love the Southern Utah slickrock country and get out there whenever we can for camping and canyon trips. I have dabbled in a bit of technical canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountaineering. In 2005 I climbed Mt. Rainier with some friends and in 2008 travelled to the high volcanoes region of Mexico and climbed Pico Orizaba (18,500 ft.), the 3rd highest mountain in North America. Denali and Aconcagua await! I have also done a few local triathlons, including my 1st (and hopefully not last) half ironman in 2008. I am still hoping to run a marathon and dream of someday doing a full ironman triathlon.
A couple of off the wall things:
1. Five seconds of fame. In August of 2008, Sue and I attended the 2nd night of the democratic convention in Denver. During Hillary Clinton’s speech, ABC was panning the audience, and did a zoom in freeze-frame shot of Sue and me. My cell phone immediately started ringing and over the next several days I got calls and e-mails from friends I hadn’t heard from in years (Photo at right).
2. Tornado chasing with my 626. In the spring of 1991, Sue saw an add for a Mazda International photo contest and suggested that we try to get a picture of my 626 in front of a tornado. Late in the season, we finally got the key shot and entered it in the contest. We had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing, when several months later we got a certified letter from Japan with a calendar and check for $3000. We were one of the 15 winners!
Photo - Mazda calendar photo, Oklahoma Panhandle, May 1991.
If you are ever in the Boulder area, please let me know – I would love to see you!
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Wild Rhythms Pikestaff Press Robert D. Sutherland