Ellsworth's weather wizards

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
When the weather outside is frightful, Airmen at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., look for official guidance to keep them safe during these conditions.

Meanwhile, the Airmen from the 28th Operations Support Squadron weather flight work around the clock to provide the base with the most accurate and up-to-date information.

"The weather flight is responsible for sending out weather observations, providing the base forecast -- including watches, warnings and advisories, as well as generating forecasts for all B-1B Lancer sorties and transient aircrews," said Capt. Haley Homan, 28th OSS weather flight commander. "We also provide daily planning briefings for both bomb squadrons, a four-day outlook for the 28th Operations and Maintenance Group commanders and a weekly weather outlook for the wing commander."

In addition to their forecasting duties, the weather flight must also tailor their message for specific Air Force needs.

"We focus on how the weather is going to impact operations and mission completion," Captain Homan said. "Whereas civilian agencies are geared toward warning the local population of hazardous weather conditions, we coordinate with the National Weather Service through the radio."

Captain Homan said this coordination is extremely helpful during inclement weather because the staff can listen to weather-spotters reporting on live conditions in the local area. She said the Airmen in the shop will continue to work -- no matter how severe the weather conditions.

"We continue to send out forecasts every eight hours, transmit current observations and update the wing's leadership regarding the tracking and duration of a storm, as well as how much precipitation we can expect," she said.

In order to provide accurate data to wing leadership the weather shop needs to stay manned 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

"The weather flight is crucial -- without their updates we would literally be flying blind," said Lt. Col. Combs, 28th OSS commander. "Their dedication makes it possible for us to complete our mission."