Center for Disaster Research and Education

Millersville Master of Science in Emergency Management Student Hired as First Pennsylvania State Meteorologist

Christopher Soelle            March 3, 2015

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) created a new position in the fall of 2015. Jeff Jumper (MSEM, 16) was selected to fill the position as Pennsylvania’s first state meteorologist as a result of a nation-wide competitive search.  Jeff received a B.S. in meteorology from Penn State University in 2006 and has a decade of professional experience as a broadcast meteorologist and eighteen years of experience as a first responder. He will receive his Master of Science in emergency management in May 2016.

 

He credits the MSEM program with helping him transition into the emergency management field.

 

“I needed to bridge the gap between disciplines [meteorology and emergency management] and that’s exactly what the MSEM program has done, ” Jeff stated.

 

Jeff serves as the subject matter expert in meteorology for the Commonwealth. His primary role is to forecast for state agencies and other stakeholders in the emergency management community. He also provides onsite meteorological support in PEMA’s emergency operations center when an emergency occurs. Jeff is also busy when the weather isn’t hairy. He is responsible for researching and planning hazardous weather mitigation techniques, developing and delivering trainings and exercises, and expanding weather safety outreach activities 

 

Jeff was a very busy person when the Blizzard of 2016 (Winter Storm Jonas or #Snowzilla) hit Pennsylvania on January 22nd and 23rd. The snowstorm blanketed areas of central, southern and eastern PA in over two feet of snow. Some schools were closed for an entire week and hundreds of motorists were stranded for 24 hours on a section of the PA Turnpike.  Jeff began preparing for the storm over a week in advance when forecast models began to indicate the potential of a significant event. He quickly made sure state agencies were aware of the potential impacts and the likelihood of forecasted snowfall to increase or decrease.

 

“I worked closely with National Weather Service (NWS) Offices (Pennsylvania is served by five NWS Offices) and ensured updates were pushed out quickly leading up to and during the event,” recalled Jeff.  Jeff also briefed Governor Wolf, the Governor’s cabinet, and participated in the Governor’s press conferences as much of the state braced for the historic winter storm.  

 

Currently, almost a dozen states employ a state meteorologist. Jeff hopes more states will create positions for meteorologists within their emergency management agency.

 

“Each state has a unique set of weather hazards and having someone versed in emergency management and meteorology on hand can immensely help prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, both natural and man-made,” said Jeff. “The benefit of integrating the two [meteorology and emergency management] goes well beyond forecasting for the incident.  Developing mitigation priorities through hazard assessment and finding methods to better prepare and respond to incidents based on meteorological understanding will help advance emergency management for the whole community.  A person who is bilingual in emergency management and meteorology will be an essential part of the emergency management structure in the future.”

 

Jeff looks forward to continuing to support the mission of PEMA as the state meteorologist. Follow Jeff Jumper on Twitter @JeffJumperWX for updates on all the weather affecting PA. 

 

The Millersville MSEM program is committed to helping other meteorologists transition into the field of emergency management. Our 30 credit hour master’s program is taught completely online and offers courses taught by highly experienced academia and emergency management professionals. For more information visit www.millersville.edu/cdre/msem