Chris Vickers visits Fayette kids 2009.05.13

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Chris Vickers of Channel 11 has found success as a television meteorologist, but he could probably succeed in an elementary school classroom just as well.vickers.pointing.jpg

He has an engaging style that draws the interest of children, and he has the patience to clearly explain a phenomena and then field a question from a little one asking for an explanation of everything he just covered.

No problem. He can review it one more time.

Chris visited Fayette’s after-school library program Thursday and faced a crowd of 50 youngsters to talk about—what else but weather.

“I brought a tornado with me,” he said, holding up a pair of soft drink bottles taped together mouth to mouth and partially filled with water.

“Turn it upside down!” an audience member suggested.

Nothing happened.

“”Shake it!” said another.

No action.

“Spin it!”

Then the tornado appeared inside the bottle.

Chris told the youngsters that wind inside a tornado can reach 300 mph.

He asked for guesses about how many thunderstorms occur every year. He heard a low guess of two and a high of 10 hundred, but said there are actually about 1,200 thunderstorms in the U.S. each year.

After a few false guesses, someone suggested that lightning is formed by static electricity when rain drops and ice rub together. When the charge becomes too big, a lightning streak shoots across the sky.

Chris asked about the temperature of lightning and was told that it’s five times hotter than the sun.

“That’s exactly right,” he said, impressed with the students’ knowledge—up to 50,000 degrees.

“Has anyone heard that lightning can’t strike in the same place twice?” he asked.

About two-thirds of the audience agreed with that statement, but Chris pointed out that the Empire State Building is struck about 100 times a year.

Chris reviewed the tools that weathermen use and asked the children how a meteorologist can predict the weather.

“You look to Indiana and see what’s going on there,” someone suggested.

“We do,” Chris said, “but who can look out the window and see Indiana?”

Satellites are also used in predicting,  he said, along with radar.

“Are you ever wrong about what the weather is going to be?” he was asked.

“What do you think?” Chris answered. “It’s predicting the future. It’s tough because it hasn’t happened yet. A lot of the time predictions are wrong. We have to learn from our mistakes and figure out what we did wrong.”

Chris said he became interested in the weather when he was a child.

“Since I was your age and probably younger, I always loved the weather.”

He studied meteorology at Ohio University and told the students that it required a lot of math and science courses.

“I enjoy predicting the weather. I love it. I think it would be the coolest thing to see a tornado.”

That prompted a question from a younger member of the group: “What’s a tornado?”

He already heard the question “What’s weather?” and “What’s wind?” and “What makes a thunderstorm?”

“Can you tell us what’s going on right now?” he was asked.

“The storms have gone through and we’ll probably see some sun this afternoon,” Chris said.

A perfect prediction.

Walking out the door of the library, the sun was breaking through the clouds.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016