October 20, 2014
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Petrarca talks weather at Arlington
Jen Cowart
LIGHTNING STORM SAFETY: Tony Petrarca of Channel 12 visits the second grade students at Arlington Elementary School. He spoke about various weather patterns and emphasized safety during lightning storms.

In a recent visit to Arlington Elementary School, Channel 12 meteorologist Tony Petrarca spoke to the second graders in Kim Fera and Kristen DelBonis' classes about all things weather.

Despite the fact that he was battling laryngitis, Petrarca spoke to the students for nearly an hour about the weather topics they've recently studied in their science units. He began by telling the students about the snowstorm that prompted him to pursue meteorology: the Blizzard of 1978.

"I grew up in Rhode Island and there was once a snowstorm that was so bad, so deep, that we had to stay overnight at school, stay the next day, and stay again another night. By the time that storm ended, we had three or four feet of snow," he said. "That was no ordinary snowstorm, that was a blizzard, but ever since that storm, I've wanted to be a meteorologist."

He discussed various types of weather patterns that meteorologists study during the course of the year, depending on where they live, including thunderstorms, hail storms, tornadoes, dust storms and lightning storms. He spoke to the group about cloud types and showed them illustrations of thunderstorm cloud formations.

Petrarca spoke specifically about lightning storms, advocating for the safety of the students during such weather patterns.

"There are three things to stay away from outside when there is lightning. Metal, like poles and fences, tall things like trees and poles, and large areas of water such as pools, lakes, ponds and oceans," he said.

Since the students had previously learned about the water cycle, Petrarca went over that as well.

"Just like you can't make a cake without flour, you can't make clouds without water," he said.

He tried to trick them with a question, and got an uncertain response from the group.

"Can you walk through the clouds?" he asked. "You can. Fog is really just low lying clouds," he said.

In keeping with the students' science themes, Petrarca covered the weather tools that are used in his work, including satellites, thermometers, rain gauges and weather vanes. He explained how the tools work and what they are used for on a day-to-day basis.

Following his presentation, Petrarca answered questions from the class and posed for a photo with the students. They were mentioned that evening on his newscast at 6 p.m. as well.

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ALL TOGETHER NOW: Petrarca poses with the students from Kim Fera and Kristen DelBonis' second grade classes after his presentation.


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