SAN ANGELO, Texas — After 33 years of forecasting weather throughout West Texas, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Hector Guerrero is working his last few days and reflecting on all of the forecasting he’s done in the community.
Q: What was your first day like being a meteorologist 33 years ago?
A: "Well my first day on the job, they gave me a stack of books and said you have nine months to get all this information down. Those first two years are strictly training and learning the ins and outs of working at the National Weather Service. I had to get started on a number of certifications that day."
Q: How would you say forecasting and public outreach has changed since that day?
A: "Back in the day it took us about 5-10 minutes to get a tornado warning out. That was in 1988. Now we can get tornado warnings out in seconds. From chats to text messaging local authorities and social media to inform the West Texas community. The advancement of our technology gives people the opportunity to act fast and it has saved many lives."
Q: What are your most memorable forecasts you’ve done in West Texas?
A: "The oldest memorable forecast is back in 2002. We were anticipating a bunch of tornadoes in the area. For the first time we actually put tornadoes in my forecast and that was the first time in my entire career. The next day we had a big tornado that touched down just west of Throckmorton, Texas. The most recent was the winter storm that happened in February of this year. I was able to issue out that warning to the community and that was really impressive. Working in this business we have to be ready for anything no matter what it is.”
Q: What's your favorite type of weather to forecast?
A: "My favorite type of weather to forecast is snow, because I do love snow."
Q: If you had to offer any advice to an upcoming/aspiring meteorologist, what would it be?
A: "The most important thing is to treat all your partners and customers with God’s love and give them the service they need. Don’t stay at the models but do your own analysis every day because that could be the day where the worst weather event can occur.”
Q: What will you miss the most about working at the National Weather Service?
A: "I'm gonna miss, I'm gonna miss the folks that I work with out here. I'm gonna miss the folks that we serve, and the folks that we work closely with in the media. It's a day-to-day job to keep up with the weather. I'm just gonna miss every aspect of that. I've been doing this a long time especially here in West Texas and we made lots of friends with all of our partners out here. It's a team effort and I'm gonna miss everyone."
Q: How much has West Texas influenced you as a meteorologist?
A: "West Texas has influenced me a lot. I learned that all our partners out here will do anything to help us. While I’ll still be here, I know everyone is still open to help me if needed. The people are great but the weather is crazy!"
Q: If you could describe West Texas weather with one word what would it be?
Q: What are your last words to everyone in West Texas?
A: "Thank you, thank you, thank you! I do this because of the help of the good Lord Almighty. We love you all and we want to protect you as best as we can. would not be here without you all. This has been a labor of love; we have a great group of folks at the National Weather Service ready to work and help everyone."