by Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson
31st Fighter wing Public Affairs
4/10/2015 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- For
many, knowing weather conditions before leaving home can make a
difference between deciding to wear a jacket or shorts. These concerns
pale in comparison to Airmen of the 31st Operations Support Squadron
weather flight, who provide information on atmospheric conditions that
may impact the pilots operating in the skies.
Aviano's weather forecasters also deliver staff support to the 31st
Fighter Wing and act as a liaison to the 21st Operational Weather
Squadron for 24/7 base resource protection, during installation
"Weather impacts everything, and we [can't] control it," said U.S. Air
Force Senior Airman Aaron Antwine, 31st OSS weather forecaster. "The
best we can do is forecast conditions that have the potential to impact
operations and provide the information to pilots, planners and
leadership to help mitigate Mother Nature's effects."
Weather Airmen help foresee conditions by analyzing high-resolution
satellite imagery, using next-generation radar, monitoring upstream
observations and gathering information to produce high-quality airspace
forecasts. This information is then relayed to pilots for flying
missions and is used to issue warnings, watches and advisories for
adverse weather conditions affecting Aviano.
Though each period of the year comes with its own challenges, Antwine said the summer months are the busiest.
"Due to Aviano's close proximity to the Alps and the Adriatic Sea,
thunderstorms can develop almost every afternoon and last into the
evening," he said. "The heavy rain from thunderstorms can prevent pilots
from landing on the runway causing them to divert to another airfield.
Hail and strong winds can damage aircraft and cause injuries. Our job is
to mitigate the effects of these hazards with updates to our pilots and
weather warnings for the base."
In addition to unique challenges during each season, Antwine said the
main obstacle faced daily is the constantly changing weather.
"Weather is never the same day-to-day. It is similar, but never the
same," he said. "Today is a sunny day and tomorrow too, but
temperatures, dew points, cloud cover, wind direction or speed or any
other number of variables will change."
To provide the best report, Antwine said he and his fellow Airmen
maintain situational awareness, remain vigilant in their watch and
continue to train, to accomplish the mission.
"We have to be able to tell a pilot when thunderstorms are going to
develop over the airfield and how long they will last," he said. "The
mission, operations and even lives are dependent on how accurate our
forecasts can be."