New Hall of Fame inductee enjoys Punxsy, ‘where weather is king’

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Fred Gadomski, the ninth inductee into the National Meteorologist Hall of Fame at the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, said Thursday that he was being honored for a career he simply considers to be fun.

Also, he said, “You can’t imagine what a treat it is to be in a place where weather is king.”

The induction of Gadomski, the host and co-producer of “Weather World,” a 15-minute nightly weather magazine program produced by the Penn State Weather Communications Group, of course coincided with Groundhog Day Thursday — his first official visit to see Punxsutawney Phil at work.

Gadomski noted that he took heed of a suggestion for meteorologists from Inner Circle Vice-President Mike Johnston: Learn a lesson from Punxsy Phil.

The lesson, he said, is, “Punxsy is a magical place, and Phil the groundhog is a careful observer, and how he glances at the sky and processes the information is a grand tradition in science and meteorology.”

“A careful observer of the world around you will help you understand a little more,” Gadomski said. “That’s part of what makes life a little more fun.”

His interest sparked in weather by his older brother, Gadomski — a native of New Bedford, Mass., of earned a B.S. in meteorology from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He also holds an M.S. in meteorology from Penn State, where he specializes in teaching weather analysis and forecasting.

Since 1983, “Weather World” has been available to 3.3 million homes via the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) and WPSU-TV. In addition, Gadomski is a founding member of the Weather Communications Group, which for 25 years, provided daily weather analyses and forecasts for publication in The New York Times.

In 1994, Gadomski won the Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State.

He has been a member of the American Meteorological Society Board of Broadcast Meteorology and the Board on School and Popular Meteorological Education.

In 2003, Gadomski was presented the American Meteorological Society’s award for Outstanding Service by a Broadcast Meteorologist and was named broadcaster of the year by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters.
He has appeared on “Today,” “NBC Nightly News,” “CBS Evening News,” “ABC Evening News,” “Good Morning America,” National Public Radio and numerous other national broadcasts to provide expertise in explaining weather-related information.

Since 1981, Gadomski has been an instructor at the Penn State Department of Meteorology, where his research interests include short- and medium-range weather forecasting; development of Web-based meteorological workstations for weather forecasters; and communication of weather information to the public and science education through television and other media.

Following his induction, Gadomski also received a special certificate from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, represented by Matt Blackburn and Jonathan Raso.

Also Thursday, Dr. Joseph Kernich, former chairman of the Weather Discovery Center’s Board of Directors, said he has recently found three new reasons why the center is important to Punxsy.

He recalled a conversation with someone whose daughter teaches in the St. Marys area and brought her students to the Weather Discovery Center, because programs through the Carnegie Science Museum are inaccessible in that area.

Her students returned from the trip abuzz about what they had seen and experienced, Kernich said, while in another case, of two young children on a trip to see their great-grandmother for the final time, found refuge at the center during a sad point in their lives.

Kernich also recalled a word of thanks from one of the veterans in a group who visits Punxsy around Groundhog Day every year. The veteran said he “doesn’t got much of nothing,” so he was pleased that staff at the center took the time to make sure he enjoyed himself.

Also, Jim Casaday, the center board’s current chairman, outlined the center’s early beginnings and phases to where it exists today.

In 2012, the center and its board would like to take its next steps forward, he said, working toward a substantial grant that would allow the development of a meteorology-based curriculum for students, with the possibility of taking that experience on the road or via the Internet.