Alison Pryor, weekend forecaster and reporter for WRCB TV Channel 3 in Chattanooga, recently gave the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club an inside look into what goes into forecasting the weather. “A …
Alison Pryor, weekend forecaster and reporter for WRCB TV Channel 3 in Chattanooga, recently gave the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club an inside look into what goes into forecasting the weather.
“A lot more goes into meteorology than what people might think,” Pryor said.
Pryor, who grew up in Cleveland, is a graduate of Cleveland High School. She joined the staff of WRCB in September 2018, after having followed a nontraditional career path.
After high school, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Furman University. However, she later decided to pursue her interest in meteorology.
She later added to her math knowledge by earning a post-baccalaureate certificate in mathematics from Smith University. She also began working as a show planner for Jewelry Television in Knoxville.
Unsure of her next steps, she returned to Cleveland and began working at the Orange Blossom Boutique. She later was able to pursue news internships in Chattanooga, which helped lead her to the opportunity to work at WRCB.
She is now working to complete the three-year broadcast and operational meteorology program from Mississippi State University online.
“This year, while working at Channel 3, I’ve been finishing up my last year,” Pryor said. “I’m almost done! I just have this summer to go for classes.”
Pryor noted she is called a “weather forecaster” now, because she does not have the college credential needed to be called a “meteorologist.”
Studying to become a meteorologist requires studying multiple subjects, including geography, climatology, oceanography, hydrology and more. It also requires physics and advanced mathematics knowledge, she said.
She described how she has had to learn the ins and outs of working in broadcast news in addition to studying meteorology. She showed clips of her reporting and explained what it takes to put together a weather forecast.
Pryor gave her audience a look at how several different weather models show up on a map and how they combine to make a reliable estimate of the weather.
Models used to help predict the weather have become more and more sophisticated as technology has advanced. However, she said this technology alone cannot accurately predict every weather scenario, which is why meteorologists are important.
“In the atmosphere, there are still so many variables, even with the technology we have,” Pryor said. “That’s why it’s so important to have a meteorologist with the experience to be able to look at all the models out there and know what these variables might do.”
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