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Beauty, brains and barometric pressure

Kevin Chill Heard | 3/12/2014, 1:03 p.m.
With these last few months seeming like the coldest temperatures and most snow ever, we needed to get her expert ...
Meteorologist Angelica Campos Photo by MYCHAL LILLY

You said you spent time working in Pennsylvania. That’s where that weather predicting groundhog is – what’s up with that?

Punxsutawney Phil! You know what? I don’t know who came up with that idea or when it started, but I think people just like making events out of the weather.

Should we give any merit to Phil’s shadow sighting as a predictor of a long or short winter?

I think the statistics of the groundhog, percent wise, are wrong! I’m not looking at any data, but I’m pretty sure he’s always wrong. Go to an expert, not a groundhog (she smiles). I think Phil leads the people to believe it’s going to be a short winter most of the time just to fool them. It makes them feel better.

Did you ever see Phil when you were in Pennsylvania?

No, but I did see the movie “Groundhog Day (again with the smile)”

There have been a few terms that we need explained, in laymen’s terms that have come to our attention this winter, and the first would be “polar vortex.”

(She laughs) The polar vortex is just a scientific term. It’s like you go to a doctor and they give you a term that you have no idea what it means. Then the doctor has to tell you what it means. We (meteorologists) are the weather doctors. A polar vortex happens every year. It just means that polar air gets transferred out into the mid latitudes and that’s the section of the world that we are in where we have extreme weather changes during the seasons (winter and summer), but someone used the term polar vortex in the media and everyone started talking about it. If I had to really explain it, there are polar jets that we always talk about in the winter and it can move south in the east or west coast. Last year it was mostly out west. That’s why they had all that snow in the Rockies, Denver had all those storms and we didn’t have such a bad winter. If you have low-pressure on one side you have to have high-pressure on the other. This year has been the opposite. This year’s bursts of cold air have made it all the way down to Florida, so we haven’t been the only ones who have been below average.

I’m gonna throw out a few more scientific weather terms that I’ve been hearing about this winter, okay?

Okay, what else do you have?

“Greenland Block” and “North Atlantic Oscillation.”

(She laughs) … These terms are based on patterns and to explain it in the lamest possible way you wound need a map. (She did break it all the way down and explain it, but if you really want to know you can tweet her @AngelicaCampos8)

My co-worker Rhonda Crowder wanted me to ask you about Cleveland meteorological legend Dick Godard. How cool is it working at the same station as him?

To me he is the coolest guy I’ve met at the entire station. When I first started working here he would even bring me food. He is so kind. He especially loves animals, but he is an all around kind person. He’s nice to everyone.