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Arnold shares passion for weather with others

By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

Jim Arnold in his home office.  Photo/Bonnie Adams

Jim Arnold in his home office.
Photo/Bonnie Adams

Shrewsbury – James Arnold has been a self-avowed weather geek for most of his life.

“It first started in 1944 when I was a little boy in Worcester. The Great Atlantic Hurricane came through – I was just fascinated by what was happening outside my home,” he recalled of that storm that killed 390 people.

That interest eventually turned into a vocation that continued, first in college and then throughout his career. Arnold officially retired in 2001 but he still forecasts weather as a way to help local municipalities know what they are going to be up against. In a region that has been hit with all sorts of weather events in the last few years, including blizzards, ice storms, heat waves, and even a close call with tornadoes, that has kept him very busy.

“This helps to provide for peace of mind for town officials and residents and give them a heads up on what to expect,” he said. “It’s important to be pro-active.”

Arnold, who resides in Shrewsbury with his wife, Marcia, has a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree from Clark University in geography and environmental affairs, respectively, and a graduate certificate in emergency management from Anna Maria College. After an 11-year stint in the U.S. Coast Guard, he spent the majority of his career working in the public sector, including stints with the city of Worcester Planning Department, Clark University Development Office, Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

In 2001 he retired from his position as an environmental engineer with DEP. His retirement has hardly been sedentary.

“In 2005, after training with the Shrewsbury Citizens Fire Academy, I became a charter member of the Shrewsbury Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). I joined the Shrewsbury Emergency Management Agency in 2006, and was instrumental in getting Shrewsbury certified as the fourth community in Massachusetts to join the National Weather Service’s Storm Ready program,” he noted. “Shrewsbury has since been re-certified twice.”

Since approximately 2007, he has been doing weather analysis and reports for local town officials, emergency managers, and other interested people. That list is now up to approximately 175 or so, he said. He is so passionate about this work that he even prepares forecasts when he is at his summer home on Cape Cod.

Arnold does not charge for this service; rather, he considers it “a way to give back.”

Over the years he has forecast rain, snow, heat waves, hurricanes and more. His favorite type of weather is “not peaceful, but active,” he said, adding that he prefers weatherbell.com and accuweather.com when doing his forecasts because of their “excellent modeling.”

“We revel in blizzards, hurricanes,” he said of his fellow meteorologists. “That type of weather is going to happen. But we sympathize greatly with those that are affected by these events and suffer losses, injuries, and death.”

While he is kept busy keeping up with the nearly daily changes of the winter of 2014 (“Mark Twain was right!” he said of the famous author who purportedly said, “If you don’t like the New England weather, just wait a minute.”), Arnold also offers weather advice to his friends.

“People call me all the time to see what the weather will be like if they are going somewhere,” he laughed. “But I don’t mind. I am happy to help!”

Be sure to check www.communityadvocate.com for Arnold’s weather updates as well.

 

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=44836

Posted by on Jan 22 2014. Filed under Byline Stories, People and Places, Shrewsbury. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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