National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Juan Hernandez

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Dallas/Fort Worth WFO
Job Title: Meteorologist
Juan Hernandez
Juan Hernandez
Juan Hernandez

Educational Background:

  • B.S. from Texas A&M University in Atmospheric Science
  • M.S. from Millersville University in Integrated Scientific Applications

Describe the career path that led you to your current job with the National Weather Service.

  • I became interested in weather at a very early age, which facilitated my choice in careers. I began by volunteering at the El Paso Weather Forecast Office the summer going into my junior year, where I learned the basic duties of an entry level meteorologist. After my first year of graduate school, I was selected to participate in the Pathways internship program at the Sacramento Weather Forecast Office. Following graduation, I began at WFO Dallas/Fort Worth as a full-time meteorologist.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • My schedule is centered around the release of the weather balloon. I am not only responsible for releasing it, but also assuring the data being transmitted is accurate. I create many products that are useful for the general public, such as regional temperatures summaries & climate information. I assist in outreach events as well as teach the public how to successfully participate in our Skywarn program.

What was the most interesting, exciting, or impactful weather/water event you experienced while working for the NWS and why does it stand out?

  • Given my fairly short time with the NWS, the hail storms that affected the Dallas/Fort Worth area in March and April left a lasting impression. Within a week, two storms with very large hail moved across heavily populated areas leaving behind over 1 billion dollars in damage. As a team, the entire staff working the event did everything possible to get the word out to those in the path of the storm.

What made you decide to pursue a career with the NWS?

  • I have always felt the calling to serve the community. Given my passion for weather combined with the mission of the weather service to protect and serve by providing weather information and products, I realized there was only one place for me, and that was the National Weather Service. I made a decision that I would do anything possible to join a group of meteorologist who day in and day out make personal sacrifices for the protection of life and property.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I like knowing that our work as an agency leads to safer communities across the country. We are here on a peaceful sunny day, as well as the most hazardous weather imaginable. Our mission remains the same; "Providing weather, water and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property."

What advice do you have for someone interested in a career with the NWS?

  • Do something that will set you apart from everyone else. If you have other interests outside of weather, use those to your advantage. Attend classes to learn a second language, earn a Master's Degree, or volunteer at a WFO. There are many meteorology students out there, but how will you make yourself stand out when a manager only sees a resume? Don't be scared to try new things in an effort to expand your knowledge and most importantly, do it because you enjoy it!

What training or coursework would you recommend to someone interested in following your career path?

  • To someone interested in following my career path, I would recommend they contact their local NWS office and ask for a shadow/volunteer opportunity. Not only do you need to know meteorology, but being well versed in other subjects is important in our field. Our interactions range from emergency managers, to teachers, to event coordinators. Knowing how weather impacts each of those professions allows us to tailor our forecasts to the needs of our users.