The Weatherman 2: Ben Wong
Ever since his childhood, senior Ben Wong has kept an eye out for the weather and now records it on his free time.
Wong’s interest in meteorology began when he was a child. Several meteorologists have inspired him over the years such as Dallas Raines, Garth Kemp and Kaj Goldberg. He always watched the weather forecast and was fascinated with the forecast maps and radars as well as the temperature trends.
“When I was younger, I remembered joining my parents for breakfast and dinner and watching whatever they were watching which were the news. That got me interested into the weather which sparked my interest in it,” Wong said.
He found the equipment he uses to this day when browsing for weather stations on Amazon and Wong currently owns a weather station which has a rain and wind gauge along with a light and humidity sensor that determines the sky condition.
“I felt like I was one step closer to finally getting what I’ve been trying to reach for a while now. I’m very grateful for getting [the equipment]. It gave me a sense of officiality finally being able to work hands-on with a certified piece of equipment with several instruments,” Wong said.
Wong joined CBS Weather Watchers, a group maintained by CBS Los Angeles, where participants submit weather data and photos from their neighborhood to be used in newscasts. Wong has been a member since last March and frequently shares his observations with the network.
“Being accepted into the Weather Watcher network gave me an opportunity to meet others around the southland who all had one common interest: watching the weather. It’s nice to see others beside me who share a common passion,” Wong said. “It makes me feel like I’m not the only ‘crazy’ one out there. Whether or not I would’ve been accepted, I most likely would still be doing the same things I do today.”
Other than meteorology, Wong also enjoys photography, taking pictures of the sky. He links those photos with meteorology.
“Whether or not they are featured on the air, as long as there’s someone out there that enjoys my photos, it’s enough to keep me going. I enjoy sharing my photos with others and it makes me happy to know that I have audience. I feel like it strengthens our connections and shared interests,” Wong said.
However, Wong’s journey has met a few difficulties. Wong has been trying to keep his affiliation with the CBS Weather Watchers undisclosed, as he feels that it would draw unwanted attention.
“It was like a part of me I wanted to keep to myself. To this day, they think me going out every evening to take photos is simply a hobby, which it is, but they don’t know the purpose,” Wong said.
Wong has made a considerable amount of meteorological predictions in the past and uses those experiences to better his estimates in the future.
“I take a note on what my prediction was and compare it to what actually happened, and hopefully try to increase the accuracy of my next prediction,” Wong said.
Wong is still undecided as to whether or not he wants to become a meteorologist in the future. Nevertheless, he aims to encourage those who are interested in meteorology.
“I hope to inspire listeners, viewers, whatever it may be, to simply give the weather a bit more of a thought at the very least,” Wong said. “And hopefully one day, if I actually do make my way towards a meteorological related occupation, hopefully I will have inspired someone who will have become passionate enough as I was to take over my position.”
By Sherman Wu, Staff writer
Photos by Airi Gonzalez and Ben Wong