Channel 6 Meteorologist Steve LaPointe talks weather and meteorology with grade 6 students

Steve LaPointe talks to studentsSixth graders at Scotia-Glenville Middle School wrapped up their science unit on Weather & Climate Thursday morning with a virtual visit from Mr. Steve LaPointe, chief meteorologist at New Channel 6.

Throughout this unit, students have studied what it takes to predict the weather and were eager to ask questions and tips from a seasoned local meteorologist! A few of those questions are below.

Lapointe graciously addressed every question from each student in the 45 minutes he spent in class. He did a shout-out to our Scotia-Glenville sixth graders here –

MS meteorology visit by steve lapointeHere are some student questions:

  • How did you know you wanted to be a meteorologist? What are some tips you have for becoming a meteorologist?

My parents always knew there was some connection I had to weather….a bad storm would brew and I would run outside! I majored in meteorology at Penn State and started becoming interested in broadcasting. This all took a lot of work but I will say this – if there is something you know you really want I encourage you to work hard for it! It doesn’t matter if you go into meteorology or something else, you should like what you do!

  • Did the COVID pandemic impact the way we forecast the weather?

Surprisingly, yes! Meteorologists use airplanes to collect atmospheric data and with the reduction in plane travel due to the pandemic, we had fewer data points to use.

  • Have you ever wanted to change a forecast after it’s out?

Predicting weather is a mathematical formula but also some error or uncertainty. It’s really a process and constantly building on the forecast throughout the week. I wouldn’t want to change anything because – as you’ve seen in some of the recent storms – we have unique events, like this past winter and high snowfalls. These changes happen rapidly and can’t always be predicted in the data.

  • Does the radar ever pick up other objects?

Yes, sometimes the radar actually picks up bugs, flocks of birds, and recently pollen has been thick enough to be seen on the radar! It can even pick up plumes of smoke from the cyclical Pine Bush burns.