Inspired Beginnings

Pat was born in Cleveland, OH and became fascinated with weather at an early age. A fear of storms, especially lightning and thunder, led to a curiosity in the weather and ultimately an interest in turning meteorology into a career. Pat excelled in math and science as a young student, and wanted a job that involved field work (not being stuck at a desk all the time), so he was naturally drawn to meteorology. Pat took as many math and science classes as possible, knowing that meteorology would require extensive work in those areas.

While searching for colleges to attend to pursue a degree in meteorology, Pat visited the University of Oklahoma during OU/TX Weekend in the Fall of 2003. Pat toured Sarkeys Energy Center and learned about the School of Meteorology, and at that point, Pat discovered that the University of Oklahoma and NOAA partners were in the early stages of constructing the National Weather Center. Pat saw a scale model of the National Weather Center along with the blueprints and knew instantly that the University of Oklahoma was the place to go to become a meteorologist. The rest is history!

Scale model of the National Weather Center

The National Weather Center was a big part of Pat’s life, so he wanted others to have that same appreciation for this amazing facility, so when discussions began about providing student-led tours of the building, Pat jumped at the opportunity and was part of the original group of National Weather Center tour guides! Currently, Pat is the only remaining individual of that initial group that still provides tours.

Pat graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology with Special Distinction from the University of Oklahoma in 2008, and received his Master of Science in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2010. Being in a professional work environment while studying and taking classes afforded Pat a lot of opportunities for collaboration with different National Weather Center partners. Pat was able to take part in a number of field campaigns (field work!) that directed his interest and studies.

Current Work

Research Associate (CIMMS/NSSL)

Currently, Pat is a Research Associate with the OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) as part of the Severe Weather Applications Technology Transfer Team (SWAT) within the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) Warning Research Development Division (WRDD). This group is tasked with developing and testing algorithms, products, tools, and techniques to improve short-term probabilistic prediction and nowcasting to assist forecasters with the warning-decision-making process.

Scientific R&D

As part of an MOU with the NOAA Radar Operations Center (ROC), Pat and the MRMS/Severe Weather Applications Team are investigating Vertically Integrated Liquid (VIL) and Echo Top products to provide recommendations on which products should be available to forecasters within the Open Radar Product Generator (ORPG). These products have tremendous potential not only for diagnosing the severity of storms for the warning-decision-making process, but also for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide advanced notice to those in aviation about weather hazards. This group is also investigating and improving the Hail Size Detection Algorithm (HSDA) used by operational forecasters. This enhancement to the Hail Detection Algorithm delineates the hail category into large and giant hail using dual polarization radar information.

Research-to-Operations: Hazardous Weather Testbed

Inside NOAA’s Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT)

The SWAT group is instrumental in leading the Experimental Warning Program (EWP) in the NOAA Hazardous Weather Tested (HWT), a research-to-operations space where the latest and greatest in weather forecasting and warning tools are tested. A number of collaborators and users are invited into this R2O space to test different products, techniques, and algorithms to improve the warning-decision-making process.

Pat works in this R2O space as a project scientist/facilitator on a number of different projects:

HS-PHI Interoffice Collaboration Experiment

Forecasting a Continuum of Environmental Threats (FACETs), a multi-hazard research program, allows for communication of probabilistic hazard information within a modern, flexible, continuously-updating framework. FACETs represents a fundamental change in the way weather information will be disseminated not only to the public and other users, but also within and between operational National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). This paradigm will also impact the way that WFOs work together for the protection of life and property.

The goal of the HS-PHI Interoffice Collaboration Experiment is to test the collaboration tools within Hazard Services (HS) and compare collaboration strategies within this new software to the current system, especially near County Warning Area (CWA) borders where discontinuities and inconsistencies in messaging can occur. During this experiment, archived weather scenarios that targeted these CWA borders were chosen. Pairs of forecasters from different WFOs were stationed in separate rooms to simulate NWS operations, and their operations were observed. Surveys were conducted after each scenario, followed by intra- and inter-office discussions.

This project was created following an NWS-wide field survey regarding inter- and intra-office collaboration in terms of warning operations, relational and policy considerations, and technological considerations.

Past Work

Coordinator of External Relations (NWC and A&GS)

National Weather Center Tours

As the tour coordinator of the National Weather Center, I had the opportunity to showcase our one-of-a-kind facility to over 40,000 visitors each year. The National Weather Center is a tourist destination in Oklahoma, and our award-winning tours have been recognized by TripAdvisor (2016 Certificate of Excellence) and TripSavvy (2018 Editors’ Choice Best Science Museums and Attractions). I have provided tours of the National Weather Center since the official opening and dedication of the facility back on September 29, 2006.

C-SPAN Cities Tour (Norman, OK) footage from inside the Vehicle Bay at the National Weather Center.

National Weather Center Outreach

As the outreach coordinator of the National Weather Center and the College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences, I identified and executed events where promotion of the NWC and/or the College could be achieved with presence from staff and/or students, which involved assisting with conference exhibiting and special events for business such as alumni relations, corporate sponsorships, and student recruitment. Given our collocation with various National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partners, this work also involved collaborating with NOAA Public Affairs on requests that require crossover into both university and NOAA.

National Weather Festival

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job was the lead coordinator and event planner for the annual National Weather Festival at the National Weather Center! It’s basically like a giant celebration of all-things weather! The National Weather Festival is a free, open-house style event held each fall at the National Weather Center with the purpose of highlighting the many weather-related organizations and activities in central Oklahoma. Attractions and activities include:

  • Hourly balloon launches
  • Meeting local OKC, Tulsa, Lawton, and Wichita Falls broadcast meteorologists
  • Emergency Response Vehicle Displays
  • Drone Demonstrations
  • Weather superheroes The Weather Friends
  • Children’s Activities
  • The National Weather Museum & Science Center Traveling Museum
  • Touring the Storm Prediction Center and NWS Norman Forecast Office
  • Issuing your own Tornado Warning with the Warning Decision Training Division
  • Food Trucks
Weather balloon launch during the annual National Weather Festival at the National Weather Center.

Social Media, Content Development, and Merchandising

Being a member of the Marketing/PR, Alumni Relations, and Development team for the College, my duties also included managing the layout, design, content implementation, and updates for the digital displays in the National Weather Center, including Science on a Sphere, the Weather Wall, Visitor Center digital kiosk, EndPoint Liquid Galaxy, and Concerto. I also took some of this content to our various social media platforms to showcase all that the National Weather Center has to offer! It really let me flex my creativity muscles!

Follow the National Weather Center on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Science on a Sphere in the Atrium of the National Weather Center.

We have National Weather Center-branded merchandise as well, so I was responsible for maintaining the inventory system, monitoring and updating the online store, fulfilling and tracking orders, managing the inventory selection, and marketing our in-house (merchandise vending machine!) and online sales!

Graphic to advertise National Weather Center t-shirts.