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Bob Pickering, Flagler Voice of Climate Safety, Wins National Weather Association Award

| January 30, 2011

weatherman bob pickering national weather association awards winner

Still Weatherman Bob. (© FlaglerLive)

It was immediate. It was natural–Bob Pickering’s interest, that is. His nickname in school was Weatherman Bob, back when he was in middle and high school. He graduated from Flagler Palm Coast in 1986, but back when he was in elementary school in Massachusetts, there was radio station on his native South Shore called WATD (there still is) that visited his school, going to each class to have students do something–news, sports, weather–on the air. “Well, my class got to do the weather, and guess who got to do the weather forecast that day? It was Bob Pickering. I was probably 9 or 10 years old, somewhere around there. I was in the 5th grade.”

Pickering is now 44, and that stint on the radio was the start of something rather big for him. With dividends.

Hollywood has the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the gang that does the Oscars). Weather forecasters have the National Weather Association, a 36-year-old organization that promotes excellence in meteorology and climate-related safety. Once a year the association presents awards in about a dozen categories to nominees from across the country.

And the association’s 2010 The Walter J. Bennett Public Service Award went to Pickering, a technician in Flagler County’s Emergency Management division, for “over 20 years of dedicated and selfless passion in promoting weather safety and providing critical weather information in his community.” Pickering was nominated by the Jacksonville office of the National Weather Service, where Walter Bennett was a meteorologist in the 1940s and 50s, in the Jacksonville office’s infancy. The Flagler County Commission recognized Pickering’s award last week when he accepted it from Angie Enyedi, an assistant warning coordination meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service Forecast Office in Jacksonville.

“We wish we had a Bob Pickering in every county,” Enyedi told county commissioners.

No one familiar with Pickering’s work, which often goes beyond the call of 40-hour duty, would be surprised: his voice is ubiquitous on local airwaves, his face often appears on local television, his words, in weather emergencies, are the first sought-after quotes of local reporters seeking a quick, clear, unvarnished explanation of whatever storms or tides or cataclysms might be lurking in Flagler County’s atmospheric zones. Pickering lives for the stuff. Weather is his muse.

“To me,” Pickering said, “all the stuff that I do, whether I’m working for the county or on my own, I don’t do it for awards, I do it because I love to do it and I like to help people, and I have a big passion for helping people prepare and understand what to do if threatened by hazardous weather. I always tell people don’t be fearful. Be prepared.”

Pickering has been working in Flagler’s emergency services 17 years. Weather is only one of his interests. Trains and photography, often combining the two, are big passions that have taken him to Canada, England and elsewhere to do train photography. He’s also a big science fiction bug. “I’m know for Dr. Who,” he says. “I always tell people I’m a big Star Wars fan but I don’t own my own storm trooper outfit.” You’ll also see him kayaking on the Intracoastal or on the ocean, at least in the daytime. Evenings you’re likelier to see him dancing (but not drinking) at Finn’s or McCharacters and Black Cloud Saloon. “Even then when I’m out socially I’ll still get people asking me questions”–and not metaphorical questions, like: “What do I do if a tornado comes, can you program my weather radio for me, stuff like that, which I’ll gladly do.”

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7 Responses for “Bob Pickering, Flagler Voice of Climate Safety, Wins National Weather Association Award”

  1. Joe says:

    Way to go Bob, congrats!!!

  2. Kendall says:

    BP (as he is affectionately known by his friends, especially his female “Mermaids”) is without a doubt the most selfless human being I have every had the pleasure of knowing. In the many years I have known him, he is there to lend an ear, a hand, or information and I have never once heard him ask for anything from anybody else.

    If Flagler County is considered Florida’s hidden jewel, BP is most definitely Flagler County’s hidden jewel! We are lucky to have him and I am tremendously lucky to call him a friend and to occasionally find a beautiful photo or song posted on my Facebook wall……………. he seems to know exactly when his friends need a little something to smile about.

  3. Sam Carcione says:

    The Award was well deserved. I jumped at the chance to support his nomination when Ms. Enyedi asked whether I’d be willing to do so. What is left out of this article is that he worked very hard to have Flagler County declared the first National Weather Service (NWS) “Storm Ready” county in the State of Florida and continues to work hard to maintain that recognition for the county.

    BP also schedules NWS Skywarn Storm Spotter classes, many of which are taught by Ms. Enyedi, which are open to anyone who would like to learn about severe weather threats and participate with the NWS in their warning system. Thanks to those classes, Flagler County has hundreds of Storm Spotters certified by the NWS.

    For futher information on the Skywarn program, visit http://www.react4800.org/skywarn.htm . And make sure you have a Weather Alert Radio at your house as well as a disaster plan.

  4. RBD says:

    Way to go BP!

  5. Roy Longo says:

    BP is one of the hardest workers Flagler County has. No matter the day or situation he always stops what he is doing to say hello and have a kind word. I have never seen him without a smile or a great attitude towards work and the very active life he lives. Whether he is kayaking to watch dolphins at sunrise or chasing an FEC train down the Florida coast, he always lives life to the fullest. Congratulations BP, you deserve all the accolades you get.

  6. Terry says:

    Does anybody know how to contact Bob? I remember him coming into my high school as a guest speaker. He had really good information to offer us as students. I am now a senior intern in a sixth grade science class. I am going to be starting a weather unit here shortly and would love to have him come in and speak to the students if possible. Any contact information would help. Thanks.

    Terry

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Terry, if you give me a call, 586-0257 (that’s FlaglerLive’s line), and give me your contact information, I’m sure I can have Bob reach you before sundown (knowing his quick responsiveness), if he hasn’t already.

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