UAlbany’s State Weather Risk Communication Center Featured on NBC’s ‘TODAY’ Show

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 7, 2023) – A new first-of-its-kind collaboration between University at Albany researchers and state emergency managers was unveiled on national T.V. by America’s most famous weatherman. 

Gov. Hochul on Thursday announced the creation of the New York State Weather Risk Communication Center (SWRCC) at UAlbany. Through an annual $1.5 million investment, the SWRCC will provide rapid, tailored, real-time weather information to help state agencies, emergency managers, and other critical stakeholders, prepare for and respond to severe weather events. 

The SWRCC is located at ETEC, leveraging the research and expertise already occurring inside the building, along with its best-in-class weather-related tools, including the xCITE laboratory, a data and visual analytics center, and the New York State Mesonet, a statewide weather network operated by UAlbany. 

Al Roker joined Gov. Hochul last month at ETEC to learn more about the new center. Their visit included stops at the xCITE Lab, Mesonet operations center, and the ETEC parking lot for a weather balloon launch with students from the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences (DAES) at the College of Arts and Sciences

UAlbany students prepare for a weather balloon launch with Al Roker from the ETEC parking lot.
UAlbany students prepare for a weather balloon launch with Al Roker from the ETEC parking lot. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

“Getting to launch a weather balloon with Al Roker was very exciting,” said Evan Belkin, a DAES senior. “I was able to help answer his questions about the process and explain the equipment we were using, which was an awesome experience. It is always fun to have a conversation with someone who is equally excited about all things weather.”

“Having an opportunity to launch a weather balloon alongside Al Roker demonstrates the value and reputation of our atmospheric science department at UAlbany,” added Megan Schiede, a second-year DAES graduate student. “I’ve been fortunate to launch many different weather balloons for class and research projects, but being able to do so alongside Al Roker and the TODAY Show will certainly be among my most memorable experiences on campus.”

A recap of the visit was aired Thursday morning on the TODAY Show, serving as the official unveiling of the SWRCC. The segment included an interview with Nick Bassill, a meteorologist at UAlbany and the center’s director. 

UAlbany alumnus Reid Kisselback '17 of WNYT, Albany’s local NBC affiliate, also interviewed Bassill for a local segment on the SWRCC that aired after the TODAY Show

View more photos from Al Roker’s visit to campus