Weather affects everyone. It has a relationship with all of us. And to have a specialist help you navigate that relationship is more than fortuitous, it’s a blessing.
In Del Rio, that specialist is meteorologist Dan Schreiber of Smalltown Weather.
Established in 2015, the Del Rio-based Smalltown Weather was the brainchild of Schreiber, a former U.S. Air Force meteorologist.
The service, or more specifically, Schreiber, seeks to provide weather expertise and information across a wide spectrum of applications including personal, commercial, legal, educational and public safety.
Most small towns don’t have access to a weather expert so Del Rio having its own is a problem solver.
He has taught meteorology classes for local first responders and school district employees; teaching them to be aware of dangerous weather events moving through Mexico.
“Since the National Weather Service doesn’t provide alerts for storms that are happening in Mexico…I provide that expertise to the community, largely…the emergency folks here so that they do have a little bit of a heads up on what could potentially happen,” he explained.
Similarly, when Schreiber was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base most of the aircraft were not under cover. Issuing an accurate forecast was critical.
“If there was a hailstorm coming, you’re talking $1 billion plus of aircraft that were just sitting outside…that happened back in 2016…you’re talking a billion dollars in taxpayer money that could be destroyed in a matter of a couple of minutes,” he said.
Extensive damage to aircraft during that weather event didn’t occur he noted.
Schreiber said that Del Rio experiences unique weather patterns in contrast to other regions in the state; Val Verde County is positioned between three climate zones.
“And never has there been two weather forecasts that have been the same,” he revealed. “Weather’s always changing. It’s always a challenge.”
The native Californian became interested in weather while growing up in San Diego near the beach.
“I got really big into surfing…and obviously, weather impacts waves and the ocean quite a bit,” he commented. “I was always checking the forecast to see if the waves were going to be good if they’re going to be big if they’re going to be blown out.”
In high school, he secured an Air Force scholarship that underwrote his education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona where he received an undergraduate degree in meteorology — he has broken the school’s previously-held forecast accuracy record. Next, came a six-year stint as an Air Force meteorologist.
Schreiber gets much of his data from the airport and the weather service supercomputers, distilling it into a forecast that the layperson can understand.
“I’ll take that information…and I’ll start interpreting it to, ‘Well, we know there’s a cold front coming, it’s going to be a little bit cooler, it’s going to be windier, maybe it’s going to be a bit of some rain.” So I’ll look at all that data and come up with a forecast,” he said.
Interestingly, Schreiber consults with lawyers and ordinary citizens who require what he labels as forensic weather reports for airplane crash investigations, house damage insurance claims, personal injury cases, etc. It’s a part-time gig that he would like to see become full time.
“It’s like one of those things that I just got a passion for it…I’m a weather nerd,” he admitted.