“What Do You Do?” Week: Kim, Phenomenal Weather Woman

This week, we’re spending a little time learning all about you and the awesome and unexpectedly cool jobs you do. Each one of these profiles was culled from you, dear Frisky Readers, and we’re amazed by the incredible jobs you have. This is our attempt to learn more about what you do for a living.

After the jump, read all about Frisky reader Kim’s job as a mighty meteorologist.

We actually saved “Zombieland” from getting hit by a potential tornado.

Kim, 26, meteorologist for a private forecasting company

Location: Wappingers Falls, NY

Your Average Day: I go into work and the shift worker before me will give me a quick rundown of what’s going on with the weather. Then I check the computer models and the radar. We have a task sheet that lists all of the forecasts that need to be sent out each day. Clients such as roofing/construction companies, school districts, film production companies, apple orchards, and the Yankees and Mets will call us and we give verbal forecasts to them over the phone. In addition to verbal forecasts, we put together forecasts and send them out via email and fax. I also sometimes write weather forensic reports–someone will have slipped and fallen, and we go back and look at past conditions to see if it was snowing at the time of loss, if there was snow or ice on the ground, how cold it was outside — and then prepare a report based on the data.

The Best Part Of Your Job: Getting to talk to the umpires during baseball playoff games is pretty awesome. I like seeing movies that we’ve forecasted the weather for. It makes me feel like I had some infinitesimal part in the production of the movie! Some movies we’ve forecasted for are “The Bounty Hunter,” “Salt,” “Zombieland,” and “The Dark Knight.”

We actually saved “Zombieland” from getting hit by a potential tornado.

Another cool thing is the laid-back atmosphere. There’s no dress code, and the environment is very casual and friendly. I work with some great people. I love being at work when a thunderstorm approaches the office. Everyone always gets really excited, because we are all weather nerds!

The Worst Part Of Your Job: Shift work: Working early in the morning, late at night, overnight, and on weekends and holidays. People always ask how I can do it, but after 3+ years my body is used to it. Another bad part is having to be cheerful to clients on the phone when you’re in a bad mood!

The Most Surprising Thing About Your Job: Some people really have NO idea of how the weather works at all!

The Craziest Thing About Your Job: We have to work no matter what the weather. No snow days for us! If there’s a bad storm on the way, we’ll stay at a hotel about a 1/2 mile from work so we don’t have to drive as far. Once, my coworkers had to walk during a blizzard from the hotel to the office because they couldn’t even get their cars out of the hotel parking lot. Luckily, I wasn’t at work that particular day! Sometimes we have power failures and our generator will also fail, so we have to make do without power for a while, or our phone lines will go down. Things can get pretty crazy then, especially if it’s the middle of the night and I’m the only one at work and I have to call all the emergency people myself!

Does What You Went to School for Have Any Relationship to What You Now Do? Yes, I majored in atmospheric science, which is meteorology with a fancier name. I’ve known I’ve wanted to be a meteorologist since I was 9 years old. Most people in my field have always known that this was what they wanted to do, and had a fascination with weather from an early age.

If You Weren’t Doing This Job, What Other Job Might You Pursue? College admissions officer or environmental consultant. Or whatever the job title is of the person who picks soundtracks for movies and figures out what music will be playing during which scenes!

What Advice Would You Give To Someone Interested In Getting Into Your Field? It’s important to have a math and science background, so you need to take those classes. It’s a pretty specialized field. If you want to do broadcast meteorology, TV stations will sometimes hire people without a meteorology degree, as long as you’re good on air, so it’s easier to break into that for someone who doesn’t have the background already.