Best Birthday Ever: 12-Year-Old Weather Fanatic Meets Weather Hero


He has been fascinated by time since a young age, his mother said.

“When he was about 6 years old, he started writing his predictions every day in a book and checking them the next day,” she said.

His predictions are far from guesswork. It uses data from multiple sources.

“I use different parts of the North American model, the GFS (Global Forecast System) and the Euro model,” he said.

His dream is to one day create a way to integrate the best parts of the best-known models so that he can produce a more accurate weather forecast.

He was able to develop a foundation in some of the fundamental concepts of meteorology, from jet streams to the El Niño Southern Oscillation, in part through watching Rayno’s videos in which Rayno not only forecasts but also conceptually explains how he came to this conclusion. . Cullen absorbed this knowledge and increased his forecasting skills.

Bernie Rayno in the morning

On October 9, two days after receiving this book, Cullen and his mother were at State College, Pennsylvania. They showed up at the AccuWeather offices at 7:15 a.m. to meet Rayno, AccuWeather’s Chief Video Meteorologist and Chief Forecaster. AccuWeather was founded by Penn State alumnus Joel Myers, who is now the company’s chairman and president.

Cullen and his mother followed Rayno during his morning routine during which he produced live and pre-recorded weather segments for AccuWeather. They walked into the production studio with Rayno and his on-air partner, Laura Velasquez, while the duo was live on air. Cullen even got help recording Rayno’s segments.

Cullen and his mother were able to visit Rayno in person in part thanks to Penn State’s weather network.

“I just wanted to inspire him,” she said. “I remember being in seventh grade. I had the opportunity to meet and shadow a professional, and that’s where I found my passion for journalism.”

Two months before his son’s birthday, Slattery posted a note on the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Facebook page. She was looking for a connection with any meteorologist between Boston and Washington that her son could watch. His heroes were Rayno and Tom Niziol and Carl Parker from Weather Channel.

“Do you know a meteorologist (one who loves winter weather and/or has been to Penn State would be great but isn’t picky) who might be willing to do this?” she wrote.

Within hours, the college reached out to let him know that Rayno was not only a Penn State alumnus, but was also friends with several faculty members in the Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences. Jon Nese, the department’s associate director of undergraduate programs, reached out to Rayno, who said he was “honored” to meet Cullen for his birthday.

“I’ve wanted to be a meteorologist since I can remember. Cullen wants to be one, and I can tell by his passion that he’s going to be one. If I can help in any way, it’s an honor and a privilege,” Rayno said. .

“My favorite part of the morning was meeting Bernie Rayno. Going on air was also fun, as was meeting Bernie’s partner Laura,” Cullen said.

Campus weather service in the afternoon

Cullen already cares about Penn State for his graduation, so his mom was also able to help him connect with the students in the student-run campus weather service forecast group in the afternoon. Meteorology students Andy Moffitt, Noah Bergren, and Paul Mykolajtchuk showed him around the Joel N. Myers Weather Center and discussed meteorology in front of the weather wall.

“You can tell he feels like home talking about the weather with these students,” his mother said during the visit.

The students showed him around their production studio, and Cullen even had the chance to record his own forecast, which he took home as a digital keepsake.

“I loved showing Cullen our operation,” Bergren said. “The feeling I got seeing his eyes light up when I shared my passion for weather and broadcasting with him is priceless. I am a huge advocate for encouraging young children to s interest in STEM careers – but if the future of our field is as bright as Cullen’s, we have some truly remarkable things in store.

“I think it’s very important to show the next generation of budding scientists all the great tools and resources available to them when they enter this field, and with Cullen’s passion, I’m sure he has can’t wait to start taking classes on this subject he loves,” Moffitt said. “It was a great experience for me as well, because it was basically a look back at my past, seeing someone as passionate about the weather as I was at that age.”

For Cullen, the day was an unforgettable experience.

“It was the best birthday present ever,” he said.


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