GREAT BAY – “When I went through Hurricane Luis, which was almost 22 years ago, my passion for the weather grew more. I realized that this is something I wanted to do. I wanted to study the weather,” says Desiree Connor, a 32-year-old local meteorologist. “I noticed that there wasn’t much information being spread. Even though the Met. Office was there, not much people knew about what was going on. I thought it would be nice to have someone there to report the weather to the folks – letting them know in advance and keep them up to date. As a child, I wanted to be a meteorologist because I wanted to know about the weather and be able to predict it,”
Connor says that she loves the weather because it’s “unpredictable” and “interesting”, therefore she followed her passion by gearing her education towards meteorology. She studied at Florida State University, and came back to St. Maarten to follow her dreams of becoming a Meteorologist. However, when she came back, she applied for the Meteorological Department St. Maarten, where she was told that they weren’t hiring forecasters, because at that time St. Maarten was under Curacao and all the forecasters were situated there.
In the meantime, she decided to give the weather by sending emails, BBM’s, and video messages. That was until one of her friends advised her to make it official and have a place where everyone can see what the weather was going to be. She then decided to create a Facebook page, Eye 4 Weather, where she started to give out weather messages on a daily basis, and eventually advanced into making video weather forecast, through YouTube. When they were starting to become overpopulated, she created a website. After a year or two, she received another call from Meteorological Department St. Maarten and was told that they were ready to hire her.
“A meteorologist is not a one track type of job,” she says. “It’s not simply looking outside and telling the community that it’s going to rain. There are different aspects of meteorology. “Because we are a bit short staffed at the Met. Office, we tend to rotate responsibilities, and sometimes I’m working with the data and climatology – looking at all of the trends, variables, temperatures, humidity and pressures, compile it into a table and look at it on a long term basis and see if it correlates with what’s happening now or what can happen in the short-term future. We also have the forecaster side, which is what I do most of the time, and this is where we look at the factors and resources. We look at the radar images, satellites and the different analysis that we have out there and compare it to the time, which is how we come up with a forecast to announce what the weather will be like.”
Currently, Connor is busy observing Hurricane Irma, and says “Irma is a powerful hurricane that is not to be taken lightly. If anyone has not prepared for impacts that are about to unfold in the next 48 hours, now is the time to do so. Special attention should be taken for the elderly, neighbors, pets, and immediate surroundings of homes & businesses. Remove any outside objects that may become flying debris, secure roofs, windows, doors, shutters. Have a plan to shelter at a neighbor, family, friend, or colleague…as shelters may be crowded and could possibly become under-equipped. Make sure that each household has enough non-perishable foods, water, medication, and other essentials for at least 3 days. And finally, stay alert and follow all instructions from official sources, do not panic, and use sound judgment.”