Story by MCSA Carla Ocampo
Photo by MC3 Kenneth Abbate

Whether typhoon, tsunami, lightning storm or even high winds, the ocean is a dangerous place, even for a mighty carrier. Though the Navy has not figured out a way to control the weather, a group of Sailors works diligently to make scientific predictions that could protect Sailors from harm.

Aerographer’s Mates (AG) in the Meteorological and Oceanographic Center (METOC) collect and record weather and oceanographic information to issue daily forecasts and warnings. They also provide recommendations for avoidance of severe weather, tropical and extra-tropical storms for safety of flight and shipboard operations.

“We work 24/7,” said Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Afeefah Louis, METOC leading petty officer. “We continuously monitor atmospheric and oceanographic conditions to keep the ship out of harm’s way because anything can happen out here in the ocean.”

AGs play a vital role in operations because weather is an integral element of the decision of carrying out the plan of the day.

“AGs are responsible for all the Sailors on the ship, and if they’re wrong, they can run the ship aground or put Sailors in a bad scenario,” said Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Jeremy Hoke.

Making accurate forecasts is vital to the Stennis mission, so AGs use tools such as atmospheric testing and satellite imagery to aid in the creation of accurate prediction and forecast models. Once a forecast is made, leadership aboard Stennis may take actions such as securing the weather decks or cancelling flight operations to avoid potential dangers.

“Weather affects everything, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing,” said Louis. “Whether it’s the temperature or high winds it’s always going to affect someone’s job.”

Accurate weather forecasting and prediction is integral to the safe and effective operation of Stennis. Daily, a group of dedicated professionals in METOC work to provide weather analysis in support of the ship’s mission.