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The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

Lt. Col. Avi Levi presents on the Israel Air Defense System.
JDS hosts speakers from Israeli Embassy
Mia Forseter, Sports Editor • May 22, 2024

Following Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut, CESJDS invited three speakers from the Israeli embassy to further inform students about Israel and...

Joe Vogel speaking out to the community. Photo from https://www.joevogel.org/
It takes a village
Adam Salomon, Reporter • May 22, 2024

While, door-to-door campaigning, Junior Rafi Seigel knocks on the door of a family household in Maryland’s sixth district, asking them to vote...

Sophomore Oliver Silver teaches his grandparents what hes been learning in math this year.
Dor L' Dor Day
Gila Safra, Reporter • May 22, 2024

Summer vs. winter
Summer vs. winter
Eliana Abrams and Maya GreenblumMay 20, 2024

Lions hold up banner after defeating Sandy Spring in the championship.
Varsity softball wins championship two years in a row
Tyler Portnoy, Reporter • May 19, 2024

Crack. The bat hits the ball and sophomore Carrine Shemesh sprints towards first base as sophomore Eliana Wolf crosses the plate, scoring the...

The baseball team has two managers who can be found at the majority of the baseball teams games, Jordan Levy (‘24) and junior Josh Berl.
All bases covered: managers support the baseball team
Vivi Ducker, Features Editor • May 17, 2024

When in attendance at any of the CESJDS varsity baseball team’s games this year, next to the players on the bench, the baseball team managers....

A forecasting father: a look into a JDS parent’s career as a meteorologist

Capital+Weather+Gang+Meteorologist+and+JDS+parent+Dan+Stillman+working+in+his+home.+Photo+by+sophmore+Matty+Stillman%2C+used+with+permission
Capital Weather Gang Meteorologist and JDS parent Dan Stillman working in his home. Photo by sophmore Matty Stillman, used with permission

Many people are used to clicking on the weather app on their phone to see the weather forecast. However, few think about how much work goes behind getting the weather report to the public: the sheer amount of data, predictions and weather patterns that are carefully analyzed before being published. This is the job of Capital Weather Gang Meteorologist and JDS parent Dan Stillman.

Dan’s interest with weather and weather forecasting began with his love for people’s reactions to snow days. He saw that people would be “panicked and freaked out” because of the snow, which he found exciting. Storms were especially exciting to Dan.

“I would watch all the TV stations and all the meteorologists on TV giving forecasts and I just became more and more interested in how they were predicting it,” Dan said.

This fascination became a career for Dan after he joined capitalweather.com in the early 2000s, which eventually joined with the Washington Post in 2008 to become the Capital Weather Gang. Despite the name change, Dan is still doing the same work that he did under capitalweather.com.

“First and foremost [my job] is looking at the various data that we have access to,” Dan said. “So that’s both the current conditions and then a variety of different forecast models that essentially take these conditions and combine them with these mathematical equations that represent how the atmosphere works and spit out forecasts of how the conditions are going to change over time, over the next few days, over the next week or so.”

The weather is crucial information, “especially for people that are driving,” Dan’s son Matty Stillman said. Weather reports also help people plan their outfits for the day.

While the weather report does help people on a daily basis prepare for the day by helping people choose what activities they will do and what clothing they will wear, it also plays a part in keeping the general public safe. People who are driving should be made aware that there might be a snowstorm and the roads will be icy, or people who are outside should know to be prepared for a thunderstorm.

“I really see so much of that so much meteorology as providing a mission critical service that can save lives,” Dan’s wife and JDS alumna Debbie Stillman said.

This is why such an important aspect of weather forecasting is communication, Dan said. They take large amounts of data and put it in a clear and concise format for their readers and listeners.

“You can spend all the time in the world making the forecast, and ultimately perhaps making an accurate forecast, but then if you communicate it poorly or ineffectively to the point where it’s misunderstood by the audience, then it doesn’t really matter if the forecast was accurate or not,” Dan said.

Taking data and consolidating it into a forecast is no easy feat, especially because data changes every hour. Meteorologists have to decide what data is important to use and share, and what data has to be filtered out in order to have a clean, clear and updateable report.

“…part of the job of the meteorologists is trying to filter that [excess data] out so that the public is not getting the sorts of forecasts bouncing up and down, left and right and east and west, but more of a steady pace,” Dan said.

Dan gives weather reports on WAMU radio station every other Tuesday morning on Wednesday morning and afternoons. The time spent going through data and the time writing or recording the weather report “works out to kind of half and half,” Dan said, and even though the constant fluctuation of data can make it more confusing to make concise weather forecasts, it is also one of the things Dan loves most about being a meteorologist.

“There’s always something new,” Dan said. “Every day is kind of a new day to look at the data and look at the models making the forecast that extends out one more day.”

 

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