T o m   B l a z e k
Tom Blazek
Weather Officer, U.S. Air Force and Master's candidate,
University of Utah

   My name is Tom Blazek and I am currently a Masters Degree candidate in the field of meteorology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I am working with Prof. James Steenburgh in the area of Mountain Meteorology and more specifically how complex terrain alters the strength, placement, and movement of storm systems moving through the western United States.

   Additionally, I am an active duty weather officer in the United States Air Force. Completing my MS degree is my current duty assignment and I should be finished by the end of May 2000. Upon completion, I will be transferred to Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska and resume working in Air Force operations on a daily basis.

   My involvement with the Intermountain Precipitation Experiment (IPEX) stems from my affiliation with Jim Steenburgh, one of the Principal Investigators (PI's) for the experiment and also my graduate studies advisor. Based on my years of experience in operational weather forecasting, Jim recruited me to be one of the lead forecasters for IPEX. My responsibilities in this area consisted of preparing forecasts for potential data collection periods and "nowcasting," which focuses research efforts to a specific location once the storm is underway.

   One of the exciting aspects of this experiment on a personal level was comparing some of the initial IPEX data with my Master's research. In some cases, similarities abound while in others, not much. Even at this late date (with regard to my thesis), one specific case from IPEX may be included in my research. This particular case showed eerie similarities (to my previous research) on the small (meso-) scale while being vastly different on the large (synoptic) scale. The data that scientists collected during IPEX will be an invaluable resource to those studying terrain effects on weather systems for a long time to come. Though it may take several years, scientists will make lasting contributions to the improvement of weather forecasting in the western United States (and maybe elsewhere!) based on the IPEX dataset.

Here is some additional info on my background as a meteorologist:

I received my BS in Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1991. I worked in TV and radio as an on-air forecaster from 1989-1992 at KOMU-TV and KBIA radio.

I was an agricultural weather forecaster for Missouri from 1988-1992. I have been on active duty in the Air Force since 1992 and have served in North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and overseas at Hawaii, Guam, and Thailand. I have prepared forecasts for locations around most of the Northern Hemisphere.

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