RNR reservist forecasts sunshine for himself
A Royal Naval Reserve Meteorology Officer based at RNAS Culdrose is eagerly anticipating his deployment toOmanas part of a team of weather forecasters supporting Royal Naval Operations in the region.
Lieutenant Commander Kevin Thomas, an Air Branch Reservist who can normally be heard delivering weather forecasts from BBC Radio Cornwall studios in Truro will be looking out for Sand Storms instead of Atlantic Gales over the next two months. His ‘call-up’ back into uniform and the Royal Navy is an ongoing commitment for the RNR Air Branch, who provides a forecaster to the Middle Eastern Met Office for the last twelve months. So far several Air Branch meteorologists have successfully completed tours of duty, presenting up to date analysis and predictions on the local weather patterns.
For Kevin his deployment has meant a change from his usual Cornish ‘eye on the weather’ forecasts, to looking at ‘Dust Devils’, ‘Sand Storms’ and ‘Shamals’. And although no stranger to the extreme weather patterns the South West of England are experiencing of late, he knows he may have to keep his weather manual close at hand for any unexpected changes.
“The Shamals or strong winds associated with the region come down the Persian Gulf affecting everything in their path,” said Kevin. “They can last up to five days and can be several thousand feet deep, travel by air and on the ground comes to a standstill and the resulting sand storms can strip the paint off cars and aircraft.”
Since he’s known about his deployment Kevin has had a keen interest in Omani climate changes. “I’ve had a vested interest in following what the weather will be like out there, getting away from the UK’s Storms, rain and the cold and the idea of going to somewhere with 20 degree heat and sunshine is pretty good news.”
Kevin began his Royal Navy career in 1981 at Dartmouth as a Teaching Instructor and specialised as a Meteorology Officer. After his METOC course at Culdrose he joined his first ship HMS Battleaxe in 1984. Continuing with a series of Ship, Shore and Air Station jobs in the UK, Holland and Gibraltar his final appointment in his regular Navy Career was at RNAS Culdrose before joining the BBC Radio Cornwall team and taking up a position with the RNR Air Branch.
“Dust Storms and other weather patterns are not completely strange to me; I’ve done a fair amount of forecasting in the Middle East during my regular service career, a fair time ago, so there will be a certain amount of refreshing going on, “ said Kevin. “ It’s going to be really interesting looking into the book again, most of the time the weather is settled and reliable. But it’s those odd occasions when they need a Met forecaster out there. Eight weeks is not too long, it will be a most filling and rewarding opportunity.”