BCS Grads: Success in the Forecast
BCS Grads: Success in the Forecast
Posted on 03/21/2018
Hunter Ward stands outside of the BCS Central Office on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Hunter Ward has become a local celebrity, especially on days like this.

The 29-year-old Enka High School graduate runs the Facebook weather page, Ashevillewx, which features live videos and local predictions. Ward has gained quite the reputation for accurate weather forecasts, especially concerning the complicated storms that bring snow to the mountains. He nailed the Dec. 8-9 snowstorm that walloped Buncombe County.

“Part of it is my local knowledge from growing up here,” he said. “It’s about consistency in the weather models, and it’s looking at the radar. You have to take all of that into consideration.”

Ward has a broadcast meteorology certificate from Mississippi State University, where he picked up skills in advanced math, physics, and forecasting. He thanked his Enka High School teachers for providing a foundation for his higher learning.

His English teachers, including now Principal Tonya Robinson, made him a better communicator and encouraged him to conduct rigorous and broad-based research.

“My teachers prepared me for college and really taught me how to write well. When  I put out my text forecasts, what’s important is being  able to say what’s on your mind exactly how you want  to say it in a relatable way.” - Hunter Ward, Ashevillewx“My teachers prepared me for college and really taught me how to write well,” he said. “When I put out my text forecasts, what’s important is being able to say what’s on your mind exactly how you want to say it in a relatable way.”

Robinson, who remembered Ward as a quiet, diligent student, said she’s glad to hear that he is research-oriented and also able to communicate effectively. Enka High School’s English classes include a research component that lets students pick topics that interest them and interact with professionals who are actually connected to those topics.

“Anything you can do in that way will help you come across to your audience in a more authentic way,” she said. “You’re gaining a deeper knowledge of the real world by taking this research outside of school and doing something with it.”

Ward said one of the most important lessons he learned at Enka is to never base your research off just one source. That applies to weather predictions as well. Many websites, and even pro forecasters, rely on the automatically-generated forecasts of one or two of their preferred weather forecasting models. Ward looks at dozens of different models and looks for trends. That, combined with strong meteorological instincts and a deep knowledge of our area’s geography, leads to a superior forecast.

“If you can look at a variety of sources – and this is true of what I do and also in other areas of life – and inform your opinion based on that, you’ll get more out of life,” Ward said.
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