In the end of September 2017 a group of 16 excited operational meteorologists, with different operational backgrounds (aviation and general weather), participated in a two week long Winter Weather Course (WWC) in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) and the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) hosted the annual course.

The mix of participants (13 from MSC, one from US National Weather Service, one from Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and one from the Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management (IMGW-PIB)) strengthened the connections among international and national forecasters. The WWC is a unique opportunity for MSC to share and exchange knowledge within their organization but also an inspiring environment for meteorologists from other countries to gain and exchange forecasting experiences.

The WWC is specifically designed for operational meteorologists and focuses on atmospheric processes associated with winter season; both synoptic and mesoscale phenomena. One of WWC’s focus areas is to improve forecasters’ three-dimensional understanding of the atmosphere. For that purpose, we did different exercises focusing on water vapor satellite images and Numerical Weather Predictions (NWPs). Moreover, the course applied alternative tools to help forecasters increase their forecasting confidence. Additionally, WWC focused on different winter weather phenomena by a couple of study cases and presentations. We also discussed the use of probability forecasts, social media, communication and client specific weather forecasts in a continuously changing forecasting environment. All in all, the course consisted of (1) a couple of pre online exercises and modules, (2) two week onsite course in lovely Boulder and (3) an online post-test and web seminars, with the aim to follow up the participants’ learning outcomes.