AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
Airman 1st Class Ana Amaral likes that she’s always learning something new as a weather forecaster for the 379th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron/Operational Support Weather.
“Forecasting for the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is very different from what I do at my home station forecasting for Pacific Command,” she said. “It’s been fun forecasting unique weather phenomenon like fog and sandstorms. Fog is especially challenging to pinpoint and learning about how to forecast the anticipated intensity has been a great challenge.”
Using satellite imagery to look at the areas they are assigned to, the weather team develops forecasts up to 30 hours out. They forecast weather for the base and give pilots briefs of the weather at different altitudes, which can vary from what is happening at ground level.
The team also develops forecasts for areas included in future flight operations and give daily updates to commanders during wing morning briefs. Much like a local weatherman helping people understand what their daily commute will look like, these Airmen characterize the environment so that commanders can plan missions and other operations accordingly.
“Weather is ever-changing, and they understand that,” Amaral said. “I think they appreciate our contributions ensuring mission success.”
For Amaral, briefing commanders is a new experience. She was told they might have to present to officers in technical training, but there was no practice before encountering it in real-life. Her experience at her home station of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, was very different.
“At home you sometimes give weather over the phone, but otherwise you don’t directly talk to commanders,” she said. “It’s different because the process of giving you a flight plan or having to cancel their flight is not face to face. Here, we see more of what we’re impacting, so it’s more personal.”
Amaral joined the Air Force in 2019, and while she likes the career field, she is also interested in marketing as a potential future career. While she finishes her initial enlistment with the Air Force, she is also putting her skills in drawing and photography to good use.
“I designed the patch for the first air refueling we did with the Qatar Emiri Air Force,” she noted. “My flight commander asked me to design a patch because she knew I liked to draw. Having done something like that for such a historic event was an amazing experience.”