Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicago Meteorologist Amy Freeze hosts Dr. Dave!

In response to a post about my favorite Chicago TV meteorologists, I was invited to visit the Fox Chicago News studio by Chief Meteorologist Amy Freeze!

I was excited to hear from Amy; she's the first science celebrity I have met since I started this website! I was also excited because I had never seen a TV news studio;

Dr. Dave at Fox News Chicago
Before the broadcast was scheduled to begin, Amy gave me a quick tour of the newsroom (where the reporters and staff work) and broadcast studio. The newsroom was buzzing with activity, but the Fox News Chicago team took time to say hello.

Don't be fooled by what you see on TV! Despite how calm everything may look, there's people walking around behind the cameras getting ready for the following segments.

As much as I want to write about the whole experience, let's focus on Amy.

Fox News Weather Center
Amy has two elaborate weather workstations where she evaluates the meteorological data and develops her forecasts and weather graphics. I picked a good night to visit the station; a weather system was anticipated to drop 3 to 6 inches of snow around the Chicagoland area.

Here's a picture of Amy and I discussing the weather at one of her workstations:

As the news broadcast was going around her, Amy was busy evaluating the latest weather data and constantly tweaking forecast. It was clear that sh e takes great pride in her work. In fact, Amy is so dedicated to providing Chicagoland with the best weather forecast that an independet agency confirms that she has been the most accurate of all the area TV meteorologists for the past two years! Congratulations Amy!

Live Power Doppler
Most TV stations have access to data from a
local weather radar. Fox News Chicago maintains a 1 million Watt Doppler radar, located southwest of Chicago. Doppler radar is a tool that meteorologists can use to determine the speed, direc tion and intensity of rain or snow. I’ll talk more about how Doppler radar works in a later post.

When you see Amy’s forecasts, she'll use Live Power Doppler picture to show weather systems that are passing through the area. You can view L ove Power Doppler simply by clicking this link.

Fox News Chicago made an important investment in the Chicagoland area when they built their Live Power Doppler radar; it is the
most powerful and farthest reaching Doppler radar in the area.

How powerful is it? If you add up the power of all the other radars in the area, and then double it, Live Power Doppler is still more powerful. Wow!

Final Thoughts
It was a delight to visit the Fox News Chicago studio. At the end of the broadcast, I took a picture with the Fox News team at the anchor desk! (From L to R: Amy Freeze, Lauren Cohn, Me, my fiancee Shaili, and David Novarro)

Thank you Amy Freeze and to all of the Fox News Chicago team for your hospitality!

-Dr. Dave