By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chance Hayes with the Wichita office of the National Weather Service notes that his annual talks to storm spotters are different this year.
"This year, we're just actually getting started, since everything is going to be virtual," Hayes said. "We're going to be able to host a lot more folks online than we are in person. I'd much rather be there in person, because getting to know the folks and chat with them is extremely important to us, but, you know, we're dealt with the situation and we're doing the best that we can."
Even though he won't be in the same room, he hopes to bring much of the same overall information.
"The talk's almost going to be identical to years past," Hayes said. "I mean, the content, of course, is going to be different, because we have to change that up every single year so that it doesn't become monotonous, but I'm still going to be giving a Power Point presentation with plenty of images and graphics. Not quite as many videos this year, just because I want to ensure that everybody has a smooth flow and it's not choppy on their end."
Hayes said his office really doesn't do a lot of trying to predict the entire season. They are focused on what's next weatherwise, but they are taking a look at what's happened in the past a bit at this point.
"Sometimes, we'll look a little bit further ahead, but our bread and butter is on the next seven days," Hayes said. "However, we have been looking at the upcoming spring and what we may expect and the patterns that are out there. A lot of that hinges on what we call El Nino and La Nina. I know that a lot of folks are starting to hear those buzzwords in the background nowadays and we're moving into what we call a neutral phase of La Nina, which in years past has given us a more active spring and early summer season."
Usually, when really active weather happens they will begin to see the ingredients coming together as far as seven days out.