To safely fly, pilots rely on the Luke Air Force Base weather forecast Airmen to provide accurate up-to-date information about possible thunderstorms, visibility conditions and turbulence.
According to Tech. Sgt. Jeremiah Hamilton, 56th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, the weather flight’s job is to observe and forecast any significant weather developing around the airfield and flying areas, whether it is thunderstorms, cloud cover or anything that could affect the pilots and other operations around the base.
There are various resources Airmen use to monitor the conditions and accurately predict the weather.
“For the general forecasts around the local area we get our weather and hazard charts from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.,” Hamilton said. “They are the central weather hub providing forecasts for the entire western part of the U.S.”
The general forecasts help Luke Airmen know where to look specifically for more detailed information about possible thunderstorms and more.
“Once we specify our flying areas and where there could be possible weather hazards, we use our resources to predict and monitor current and future weather hazards to flying,” Hamilton said. “We use radar, satellite, observations and lightning detection systems to monitor the weather for hazards to flying operations.”
Making sure the weather is accurately predicted is also critical.
“We help emergency management with toxic spills and fires by providing wind direction and speeds so they know what areas can be affected and what areas to cordon off,” said Master Sgt. James Lopez, 56th OSS airfield services element non-commissioned officer-in-charge.
Most importantly, weather keeps the flying mission at Luke going strong.
Their main task is to keep the pilots updated on which areas are safe to fly, maintain a constant watch for hazardous weather conditions that will impede the mission and ensure the safety of the pilots, Hamilton said. The flight also monitors the current weather to ensure safe conditions for pilots to land.
“We are an essential part of Luke’s flying mission, because the pilots trust us to provide accurate information about the weather,” Lopez said. “They also use our weather data for next day operations to show which areas are safe to fly.”