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Wardens of Weather

By Airman 1st Class Lillian Miller 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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The 2nd Operations Support Squadron weather flight tracks all weather conditions to inform the base about weather related safety precautions to take when it’s necessary.

 

The northwest Louisiana climate is conducive to rain and thunderstorms. Lightning can be hazardous to Barksdale personnel and equipment. This requires special attention from a resilient weather team.

 

“We have multiple weather warnings and advisories that we issue to Barksdale, 22 to be exact,” said Capt. Amanda Sink, 2nd OSS weather flight commander. “The ‘lightning within five nautical miles’ warning is the one that people are most familiar with. When there is lightning within that range, all operations halt on the airfield.”

 

The weather flight has a sensor on the airfield that can detect the location of lightning strikes. They also have access to a national network of sensors that detect them as well.

 

“We have many wind advisories alerting maintenance personnel of 20 knots, 25 knots, and 30 knots,” Sink said. “This notifies them when certain winds are occurring so they can stop work on ladders, on top of the wings, etc.”

The flight provides support for all of Barksdale from units such as the Child Development Center, the Senior Airmen Bryan Bell Fitness Center and the flight crews preparing to fly.

 

“We brief the flight crews almost on a daily basis,” said Staff Sgt. Patricia Timmins, 2nd OSS weather forecaster. “They need to know effects such as the impact on climbing speeds. We have to be confident in our forecast because the crews are flying based on what you’re telling them.”

 

They not only support Barksdale’s aircrews, but also transient personnel. This includes aircrews performing day-to-day operations and any visiting aircraft.

 

“Our team briefed around 6,000 crewmembers throughout the year of 2017,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Watts 2nd OSS weather flight chief.

 

With an entire region under their watch, the squadron garners the responsibility of consistently and efficiently providing weather intelligence that is accurate, effective, and credible to all of Barksdale.