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Meteorologist Andy Parker comes to city

Although the weather outside has been frightful lately, the famous weather machine was more than welcome in the crowded gymnasium at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School Monday morning.

WGRZ Meteorologist Andy Parker visited the school with his famous weather machine performance, which started around 2002.

NCCS finished well in the weather machine drawing.

“Students are pretty pumped,” NCCS Principal John Georger said. “It was the parents’ idea to sign up for the weather machine drawing and we won second place.”

Georger gave an enthusiastic speech to his students before the performance.

“Hold onto your hats,” he said. “This is going to be an exciting experience.”

Parker jumped into action as soon as the speech was over.

“We are going to do a little science with you this morning,” he said. “Behind me is what you won, and there is not another one like it; we built it from the ground up.”

Parker proceeded to ask the student body what they knew about weather and told them the three important parts of his job. They are pictures, words, and numbers. Without these three things he and other meteorologists couldn’t forecast the weather.

“Your eyes are the biggest high definition camera and your brain is the best storage for recorded images,” Parker said. “We have different words stored in our brain to describe what we see.”

“The pictures you took with your eyes and the words you store in your brain help with weather, but we also need numbers,” Parker continued. “We use special thermometers.”

Parker showed the students how he measures clouds by using a very large weather balloon.

“Weather balloons are used to measure clouds,” he said. “It goes up 120,000 feet; we do this twice a day all over the nation; morning and night, meteorologists over the nation release giant balloons in the air.”

The students enjoyed witnessing the making of all the seasons; summer being first and winter last.

Scientists are always trying to improve solar energy.

“If you can find a way to improve solar energy you will be able to skip grades and go to any university you want,” Parker said. “You will be known as the person who solved the solar energy issue.”

Parker explained there are 90 different clouds and he took out his amazing cloud making machine and put clouds in students’ hands.

“Everyone here has been in a cloud,” he said. “Fog is a cloud and everyone has been in fog.”

Parker demonstrated the fog using the weather machine and a tornado as well.

“Tornadoes are faster than hurricanes, causing 300 mile per hour winds,” Parker said. “Lightning is more dangerous and you have all been struck by lightning as well.”

Parker explained when you rub your shoes on the floor and touch something metal, you are being struck by lightning, since lightning is electricity.

“It is a bad thing for us to be out in a thunderstorm since our body is mostly made of water; lightning goes right through us,” Parker said. “Mother Nature has a way of telling you when you are in danger and it is time to go inside.”

Parker demonstrated with a student how when your hair raises up it means lightning has zeroed in on you as its target and you need to get inside pronto.

“Anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 kids have seen the weather machine over the last decade,” Parker said. “It is great to see them swallowing up the info.”

Parker enjoys what he does and loved doing it for NCCS.

“There is just under 200 kids here and it is a great environment,” he said.

Parker explained he started talking to schoolchildren about weather in the 1990s.

“I talked to kids in schools and realized speaking was flat,” he said. “I started to experiment on doing something they could see; in 2002 the weather machine super sized it; it has become a well oiled machine.”

Georger believes he presentation was a success.

“The kids were excited weeks before and there was a lot of positive energy,” he said. “He (Parker) presented it really well; he refined what we have been teaching in class; he knows how to sell it to kids.”

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