In his nearly 20 years of being a forecaster, Chip Kasper has seen more than his fair share of wild storms – 27 to be exact – including the big ones like hurricanes Wilma and Irma.
For the last decade, he’s served as the marine program meteorologist for the Florida Keys National Weather Service in Key West, an absolutely vital role in a community where so many rely on accurate weather preparedness.
All of this and more qualified Kasper to be named the new meteorologist in charge, announced May 14. He’s taking over for Matt Moreland, who served from April 2015 to September 2017 before being promoted to meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service Office in San Diego, Calif.
Kasper earned a meteorology degree from Florida State University, and has worked in National Weather Service offices serving the Tampa Bay area and state of Alabama.
Last week, he accepted, on behalf of the entire Florida Keys National Weather Service team, the 2018 Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference “Public/Private Achievement Award.” This award is presented to an individual or small or large organization from the not-for-profit or private sector that has made a substantial contribution to hurricane preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation or research in the state of Florida.
He first visited the Florida Keys in the early 1990s, and said he “was drawn like a magnet to its maritime culture and lifestyle.”
When the opportunity to live and work here presented itself in the late 1990s, “I jumped on it,” he said. “I very much enjoyed working with and learning from the diverse Florida Keys marine community. I still do.”
It’s that and working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy and helping them protect Americans on the sea.
“These are special endeavors, ones that I can get behind because our mission in the National Weather Service is to provide weather, water and climate information that supports decisions that protect life and property,” he said.
Full Name? Kennard “Chip” Kasper.
Do you have a life credo or motto? Actions speak louder than words.
Worst joke or saying about the weather? I don’t mind the jokes. We are all subject to the forces of Mother Nature, and each person has a right to comment, joke, complain, etc.
What’s your favorite “weather” movie? “Twister.” It actually has a great soundtrack. Check it out.
What’s on your bucket list? A visit to the Hawaiian islands.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Any family gathering involving water, sun and mirth.
What is it that you most dislike? Hubris.
Which is your favorite way to give back to the community? Volunteering during fundraising events at my kids’ school. I also am current president of the Port of Key West Propeller Club, a nonprofit maritime industry association.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? When I am concentrating, it looks like I am frowning. (I’m really smiling inside!).
Question you get most often about the weather? “What’s this hurricane season look like?”
If invisible in Key West, what would you do? I would find the very best spots to view local shows and music acts.
On what occasion do you lie? Honesty is always the best policy.
Favorite guilty pleasure? Large café con leche — two sugars.
What job would you secretly love to have? A ship captain.
Most important thing you tell your kids? I love you.
Lunch with one famous person, whom would you choose? Harry Boyer. He was chief of the Weather Bureau in Key West for over three decades during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Finish these sentences..
My friends and family would describe me as … Competent, honest, and responsible.
My autobiography would be titled … “Losing Latitude; Gaining Wisdom.”
I can never refuse … a call for help.
When I go, I will go … when my time has come.