DRACUT — Growing up in Haverhill, young Matt Noyes wanted to be a doctor, or a state trooper like his dad, Charles, but there was this nagging hobby that just wouldn’t let him go.
He would tune his father’s police scanner to the National Weather Service frequency, draw his own weather maps, cut the weather maps out of the daily newspaper and prepare his own forecasts.
“It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started to realize that my hobby could actually be my job,” Noyes said.
Noyes, 27, who has been a meteorologist for New England Cable News since 2002, visited the Greenmont Avenue School on March 21 to share his passion for all things meteorological with a bevy of third-graders eager to learn.
Noyes began his presentation by explaining the origin of the word “meteorology.”
“In ancient Greece, a meteor was anything that fell from the sky, rain drops, snow flakes, a bird that got tired and fell out of the sky,” he said. “Therefore, meteorology is the study of anything that falls from the sky.”
The students have been studying weather and the water cycle in their classrooms, and were prepared for anything Noyes threw at them.
“What are clouds made of?” Noyes asked.
Immediately, 60 hands shot up in unison. When the anticipation of being called on became too much, kids began yelling out the answer: “Water!”
What really impressed the kids was when Noyes made a cloud, right there on the stage in the Greenmont cafeteria.
He filled his Betty Crocker hot pot with water, plugged it in and waited. A few minutes later, steam began to float out of the appliance.
“I’d say there’s a 100 percent chance of this,” Noyes said, as he comically wafted away the thick clouds of steam billowing in front of his face.
He explained that clouds are formed when warmth and moisture meet cold air, the same way boiling water creates steam as the evaporating water vapor hits the cooler room air.
The sharp third-graders knew all about the different types of clouds: stratus, cumulus, cirrus, and Noyes’ personal favorite, the cumulonimbus (AKA the thunderstorm cloud), which can reach heights of 70,000 feet above the ground.
When a video clip of the movie Twister refused to play properly, the energetic Noyes improvised and acted the scene out to the delight of the audience. The discussion then turned to tornadoes and the best strategies for surviving one, including taking shelter in a basement, or in the center of a home away from windows in the event the that abode does not have a basement.
“It was excellent,” said Max Nutter, 9, after the assembly.
Nutter, a curious student who already knew a lot about weather, did learn an interesting new fact.
“I learned that when the Native Americans were alive they hid from tornadoes in a ditch,” he proudly stated.
“I love the kids,” Noyes said. “They are so full of energy and enthusiasm and excited to share what they have learned. This is the age when learning is still cool.”
Noyes added that he was especially impressed with the Greenmont kids.
“It is always so refreshing when the kids have an excellent foundation to build on,” he said.
Noyes, who can been seen on NECN reporting not only the weather, but also the news and sports from 5-6 a.m. every weekday, live weather every 10 minutes from 6-10 a.m. and again from 12-1 p.m., said he feels fortunate to have the opportunity to practice his craft in New England.
“New England is the Mecca for meteorologists,” he said. “We have so many weather challenges here that you don’t find anywhere else. The weather is always changing. In places like Tornado Alley or Florida, the weather is challenging for one month a year, but here it is continually exciting.”
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