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Getting together to talk about the weather

August 8, 2018

Meteorological experts and scholars will descend on Hastings this week for the 20th High Plains Conference.

The High Plains is the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association with National Weather Service offices in Hastings, North Platte, and Goodland and Dodge City in Kansas. So the High Plains Conference takes place in Hastings every fourth year.

The conference begins this afternoon and concludes Thursday.

Presentations take place at The Wilson Center at Hastings College.

“The great thing about a scientific profession is you’re always learning,” said Jeff Kelley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hastings. “That’s true with any profession, but especially in a science-based profession; there’s always opportunities to learn. That’s why this conference is a great opportunity for people in the High Plains area to get together and share what they’ve learned and reinforce knowledge we already have. That way we can provide the best service possible to our customers.”

He said most of the people attending are forecasters with the National Weather Service, but students from nearby universities also will present research.

Forecasters from outside the High Plains area will be presenting, as well.

Conference presenters extend beyond the forecasting world.

“The great thing about this is we have invited speakers that are not necessarily meteorologists,” Kelley said.

For instance, the keynote speaker during the conference banquet Wednesday at The Lark, is Mark Robertson, emergency management coordinator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Big Red Incident Command System at Memorial Stadium.

“We have other people who aren’t just meteorologists, but their fields overlap with what we do, and so we’ll have people from the media, school superintendents, emergency managers,” Kelley said. “So there are other people attending the conference, not just meteorologists.”

The conference is open to the public, but registration is required.

For more information go to http://www.highplains-amsnwa.org/

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