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Storm Chasing with the Weather Titan

Ariana Bates-Erlich

Becky Ditchfied is a meteorologist for 9 News for her job she creates forecasts and chases storms to find a news story and to warn people in the area. Cory Reppenhagen is also a meteorologist for 9 News he is also her partner who films Ditchfield and other meteroigists while driving around looking for storms.

Ditchfield told us that as a kid she was afraid of thunderstorms and she would always run to her parent’s room when she heard thunder. When she got older it turned into curiosity about weather and that’s why she became interested in meteorology.
Nine News has a new truck they have been using called Weather Titan. Which is a safer, sturdier truck with all the weather forecasting equipment. It is also better because they can film from the front seat if they have to keep driving. It also has cameras on the roof so they can look outside with the camera while in the truck.

Her experiences go from chasing tornados to interviewing people about recent hail. One of her most memorable experiences was when she was living in Nebraska on June 22, 2003 in Aurora, Nebraska there were reports of hail the size of basketball. Later when the hail was measured it was 7 inches in diameter which held the national record at the time.

She also lived in Arkansas. When hurricane Katrina hit a lot of evacuees were put in mobile homes in Arkansas. She said a lot of people there were scared a tornado would come up from hurricane Katrina because a mobile home is the worst place to be during a tornado. Luckily tornados never hit where most evacuees were staying.

One of her more recent storm chasing events was when she was in Wyoming. She and Reppenhagen were out chasing a tornado and it actually touched ground and she was “Celebrating in the car”.

She also told us about the Windsor tornado in 2008. She was in the 9 News office watching the weather when she saw that it was perfect conditions for a tornado and that there were already funnel clouds. There were 2 minutes until the noon show but she insisted they go on and warn people. She said the most important part of her job is saving lives by warning people about incoming weather

Ditchfield also told us that one of her greatest challenges is forecasting in the winter because it changes quickly. She said that meteroigists get so much criticism that they have to overcome. Many people say that they could do her job and that meteorologists jobs are easy. “People just don’t understand the science behind it” said Ditchfield.

Meteorologists are very important in our live because the risk their lives to warn us. They are also just everyday helps like knowing what to wear based off of the temperatures. Ditchfield’s advice if you want to be a meteorologist is to talk to all the meteorologists you can.