It seems like there is a holiday celebrating just about everything these days. Some are fun, like National Bubble Wrap Day and some are well warranted like National Weatherperson’s Day.
To celebrate National Weatherperson’s Day which fell yesterday on Sunday, February 5, we are happy to celebrate our Meteorologists team, made up of Chris Arends, Carrie Bowers, Katie Giannecchini, and Yumin Moon.
Kathryn (Katie) Giannecchini joined our team in 2013 as an Operational Meteorologist and is currently the Meteorology Data Scientist. Katie says she is proud when people ask what she does, and she is able to explain that “I manage data flow within the meteorology group, and I work with the engineering teams to find long-term solutions to reduce customer impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).”
“I’ve known I wanted to be a meteorologist since I was a 10-year-old huddled under a tree as the rain poured from the sky,” says Katie. “Weather has always fascinated me, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do once I realized I could make a career out of it.”
Katie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Valparaiso University in Indiana and has a Master’s in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of North Dakota. “Katie’s extensive background and unwavering dedication to SDG&E is an incredible benefit to our team,” says Meteorology Program Manager, Chris Arends.
Chris Arends joined us in 2018 as our Meteorology Program Manager and explains, “I enjoy working with this top-notch team and showcasing their capabilities every chance I get. I often give tours of the Emergence Operations Center (EOC) to internal and external stakeholders and participate in presentations discussing our Weather Center and SDG&E’s innovations and advancements.”
Prior to joining SDG&E, Chris was a US Navy Operational Meteorology and Oceanography Officer. “His experience in providing strategic and tactical forecasting services and risk reduction products to ensure well-informed operational decisions is invaluable to our Team,” explains Fire Science Meteorologist, Carrie Bowers.
During Chris’s 24-year career that included two wartime deployments, Chris forecasted operational impacts to carrier aviation operations, marine amphibious landings, Navy SEAL operations, and voyage management. Arends holds Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Cornell University, a master’s degree in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School, and an MBA in International Business from Georgetown University.
Carrie Bowers, who joined us in 2018 as a Fire Science Meteorologist, brings an immense amount of experience. She holds an associate degree in Fire Protection Technology from San Diego Miramar College, a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from San Diego State University, and a master’s degree in Meteorology from San Jose State University. “Carrie’s impressive education and background as a firefighter gives her an insider’s perspective of weather patterns and how they can lead to high fire danger,” said newest Team member NWP Scientist, Yumin Moon. “It’s incredibly interesting to learn about Carrie’s years of experience as a firefighter and how she utilizes that experience to benefit SDG&E every day.”
“I’ve been on many fires, from very small to very large, and I’ve seen firsthand how fire responds to changing weather,” said Carrie. “Part of my job at SDG&E is to study past fires in our region and the weather patterns that dictated their behavior in an effort to help keep our communities safe and mitigate risks to our infrastructure.”
Dr. Yumin Moon held research positions studying weather and climate processes at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Oklahoma, and University of Washington before joining SDG&E in 2021 as a Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) Scientist.
Amongst other things “Yumin specializes in analyzing and evaluating weather and climate patterns which is imperative in identifying and forecasting weather events,” explains VP of Wildfire & Climate Science, Brian D’Agostino. “He alsoholds a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from Pennsylvania State University and PhD in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography from University of Miami. His impressive background and everything that he brings to the team are the reasons that we were thrilled to welcome Yumin to our progressive department.”
Leading the Charge in Utility Meteorology
Before becoming one of SDG&E’s VPs in 2022, Brian D’Agostino was one of the first members to join our Meteorology team in 2009. As the former Director, Brian says he is proud that SDG&E was the first utility in the country to develop a dedicated Fire Science & Climate Adaptation Department. “We certainly have broken a lot of ground when it comes to innovation over the years.”
In the early days, SDG&E built, what was arguably the nation’s largest utility-owned weather network, by implementing 127 weather stations that provided situational awareness of potential weather threats to the electric system. Each of the weather stations, there are currently over 200, provide temperature, humidity, and wind speed readings every 30-seconds.
“SDG&E utilizes over 100 cameras that allow us to constantly monitor the potential of wildfire,” explains Fire Science Meteorologist, Carrie Bowers. “This state-of-the art camera network includes 43 high-definition, live-streaming, pan-tilt-zoom cameras that help SDG&E and CAL FIRE quickly locate wildfires.”
SDG&E’s Meteorology Program Manager, Chris Arends explains, “SDG&E recently updated its weather network to become the first in the state to include cameras that also measure chlorophyll in vegetation and sensors that measure moisture content in the brush. The network also leverages satellites' latest remote sensing capabilities to detect, alert, and monitor wildfire activity from space.”
Collectively, as a team, Carrie, Chris, Katie and Yumin agree that it’s a good thing that they all respect one other and get along because “being this close to each other in the weather center, all day long, every day could be tiresome, but in our case, it really does build a bond.”
To watch a video about SDG&E’s Wildfire Safety Advancements, of which the Meteorology Team is a major part, click here.