Q and A with Meteorologist Dan Holley from the UK’s Weatherquest
Dan is a British meteorologist and works for Weatherquest, a private weather company based at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. He graduated in 2013 with a meteorology and oceanography degree, is a member of TORRO (the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation) and has presented many forecasts on BBC Look East.
1. What was your most memorable weather event?
Probably the day of the twin land-spout tornadoes in eastern Colorado (28th May 2018). I’ve been storm chasing every year in the U.S. Plains since 2012, but this was the first time I’d seen a “proper” land-spout, let alone two at the same time!
What made this day even more memorable was another super-cell thunderstorm near Cope (CO) that produced a rope tornado, moving across the field next to us a few hundred metres away. I’d never been this close to a tornado before, and while it was a weak one it was fascinating watching dust and small debris spinning around its base, while we were simultaneously being lashed by horizontal rain and hail.
2. What is your favourite and least favourite type of weather?
Without a doubt, thunderstorms are my favourite type of weather. I’m always amazed at how the sky can change from clear blue without a single speck of cloud to a full-blown thunderstorm in under an hour. Sadly, the climate of the U.K. often leads to disappointment with a measly 10 days of thunder a year on average, and so I try to get my fix elsewhere by visiting the U.S. Plains each spring.
Least favourite type of weather – heatwaves. It’s no fun when you just can’t get cool and escape the heat, and your sleep gets disturbed. But if a heatwave ends in a thunderstorm…
3. If you weren’t a meteorologist what would you most like to be?
My job is split between being a meteorologist and working in IT, and so I spend some of my time coding (computer programs and web design) and creating graphics. If I wasn’t a meteorologist I suspect I’d be happy to work in IT full-time.
4. From a purely meteorological point of view, where would you most like to live?
To get my fix of extreme weather it would have to be colourful Colorado. Having visited the state many times, I’ve often considered moving there.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve been fascinated by the weather since a young age, and am grateful to have been given the opportunity of fulfilling my dream and working in meteorology – whether that’s on TV presenting the forecast, or in the office helping our wide range of clients. No two days are rarely the same in weather, and it’s always exciting to see what forecasting challenges the next day will bring
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