The U.S. National Weather Service invites Rio Grande Valley residents from Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron counties to an open house Saturday at its Brownsville facility.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Barry S. Goldsmith said the event will be educational, fun and highlight the only meteorological organization in the Valley.
“You always want to be with the community you serve and that’s why it’s important to have us here,” he said. “There is no other professional meteorological organization in the Valley. That’s not to brag; that’s just to say what it is and a lot of people have no idea who we are or where we are.”
He hopes the Weather Festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, will remedy that and maybe inspire young minds to pursue a career in a weather- or science-related field.
“Maybe that lights the fire or spark that sets that child off,” he said, adding that the NWS at Brownsville is a STEM-based operation. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Weather Festival will feature a lot of fun, educational activities including launching a small weather balloon or learning how to make a cloud.
“This is more of a celebration of what we do weather-wise,” Goldsmith said. “It is more than just a tour. We’ll have fun and educational activities.”
This is the first open house the NWS at Brownsville has held since 1996, when it held an open house to highlight the formal re-opening of the office, he said.
Goldsmith called the event an opportunity.
“This is opening the doors to the general population,” he said. “If you have an interest in water — or really it could be for anyone interested in weather — a child, senior citizen or even a parent (this is for you).”
But most importantly, the Weather Festival highlights what the NWS does for the Valley.
“We’re opening our doors to the whole population of the Valley to come and visit our office and see what we do day-to-day, 24-7, 365 days a year to help protect people from hazardous weather that could affect the Valley,” Goldsmith said.
And that fact makes Goldsmith proud of the men and women at the NWS is just an additional reason to open its doors to the public.
“There is nothing better at the end of the day than a forecast hits and people survived it,” he said. “We communicated a warning and information and people listened and understood and took action that saved their life, and that’s the best feeling anyone can have at the end of a busy day.”
The open house will show Valley residents just how that is done.
“This gives people an opportunity to see inside the glass,” he said. “We’re here to help. We have no profit motivation to do what we do, and what I will say is, people will find the enthusiasm is alive and so is the passion.”
Mark Reagan writes for The Brownsville Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
U.S. National Weather Service at Brownsville is hosting a Weather Festival open house for Rio Grande Valley residents.
The event is Saturday at the NWS, located at 20 S. Vermillion Ave. in Brownsville, by the airport, and runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information call (956) 504-1631 or visit http://weather.gov/rgv/?nopenhouse