1 SOW sees "every kind of rain"

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Naomi Griego
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
The 1st Special Operations Support Squadron base weather station provides and arranges all weather services in support of the mission at the 1st Special Operations Wing.

Forrest Gump best described the weather here by saying, "We've been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stinging rain and big ol' fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath."

Rain has the potential to jeopardize the safety of the base, and the weather station has the responsibility of informing the base about it.

"We have an obligation to provide resource protection to the people and aircraft of Hurlburt Field," said Master Sgt. Jacob Arfa, 1st SOSS base weather station superintendent.

The base weather station's forecast affects more than 10,000 people, and they answer directly to the wing commander.

The weather station also provides support to aviators and notifies base personnel of inclement weather through the AtHoc system. The AtHoc system is a pop-up mass communications notification system, which sounds via government desktop computers.

According to Arfa, the weather station uses two forms of equipment to forecast the weather, which include a TMQ-53 sensor and a MW-31 weather balloon. The TMQ-53 is a tactical meteorological observing system version of a fixed sensor and the MW-31 is a weather balloon launching system.

"We observe the current and future states of the environment," said Arfa. "We then provide that information to the customer and they use that information to determine flight missions."

Capt. Nathan Smith, 1st SOSS base weather station flight commander, said weatherman can't help but look up at the clouds figuratively and literally.

"Meteorology is a science and an art," said Smith. "We can't really lick our finger, stick it up in the air and tell you how hot it is."

In regards to weather affecting the mission, Arfa said their predictions are 98 percent accurate, which helps the 1st SOW mission run smoothly in the air and on the ground.