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Climate Change and Construction with Crystal Egger and Kathryn Prociv
Episode 277th March 2022 • Construction Disruption • Isaiah Industries
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As weather patterns shift and evolve, the presence of skilled meteorologists is becoming mandatory. In the United States alone, we’ve faced many catastrophes over the past few years, from wildfires in California and Colorado to blizzards in Texas to hurricanes in the South. Extreme weather crops up across the country, and many communities have suffered the loss of life and property. As the climate continues to change, construction needs to follow suit.

Crystal Egger, President of Monarch Weather Consulting, and Kathryn Prociv, Meteorologist for NBC News & Monarch Weather Consulting, help businesses prepare for and react to weather events. Both are career meteorologists, Crystal at The Weather Channel and NBC LA, and Kathryn at The Weather Channel and NBC New York. Now, they combine their skills with a dedicated team of Certified Consulting Meteorologists and data scientists to provide crucial weather information for agriculture, businesses, and climate change.

For questions, email kathryn@monarchweather.com or crystal@monarchweather.com. For your weather needs, visit monarchweather.com

Episodes are sponsored and produced by Isaiah industries, a manufacturer of specialty metal roofing systems and other building materials. Learn more at isaiahindustries.com

 



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp
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Transcripts

Crystal Egger:

:

Yeah, I think it all comes back to the idea that you know, the infrastructure in place for the 20th-centuryclimate, it needs to be fortified, and that climate no longer exists. And the climate normals are shifting. So it's really adjusting construction and building plans around new climate normals.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Welcome to the Construction Disruption podcast, where we uncover the future of building and remodeling. I'm Seth Heckaman of Isaiah Industries, and here joining me is co-host Todd Miller. So perhaps the biggest topic in construction today is how to make buildings more resilient. And by that, we're talking about buildings that can better withstand all sorts of weather extremes, including wind, heat, rain, ice, and snow. We regularly attend various industry update meetings and so much in recent years has been along the lines of research and building code changes. Remember, too, a few years ago when we visited Ground Zero after Hurricane Harvey, shortly after the storm, how obvious it was that newer buildings built to current codes fared much better and outperformed the older structures around them. So because of this and other examples year after year, Hurricane Ida has been a big topic of conversation around here as well this year. Because of this, it's been such a critical topic impacting and disrupting the future of building and remodeling. And so we get to dig into that conversation more deeply today. Our special guests are well-known national meteorologistsCrystal Egger and Kathryn Prociv. These two, in fact, are at the very top of the list of the 40 leading weather and climate voices to follow in 2022. So we feel very blessed to have them here to share with us today. Crystal, a little bit about each of them. Crystal is an Emmy award-winninghost and meteorologist who has been the on-airtalent in major markets such as Denver and Los Angeles, as well as the National Weather Channel. She is now president of Monarch Weather Consulting, a team of consulting meteorologists and data scientists who help businesses prepare for and react to weather and climate changes around the world. Kathryn, a Certified Consulting Meteorologist, is executive vice president of the Monarch Weather Consulting Team, and she also serves as senior meteorologist and producer for NBC News. Working with their flagship shows, including Al Roker in the Mornings with the Today Show and also the NBC Nightly News Program. She has also worked in the past for The Weather Channel, and interestingly enough, Katharine was born not too far from here, those of us recording Construction Disruption in neighboring Dayton, Ohio. So Crystal and Kathryn, welcome to Construction Disruption. It's a real honor and thank you so much for joining us.

Crystal Egger:

:

Thank you. It's an honor to be here.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yes. Thank you for having us and my fellow Ohioans in the house.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Yeah, go Bucks.

Todd Miller:

:

Go Bucks.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

That's right, and go Bengals.

Seth Heckaman:

:

On cue.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Coming up.

Todd Miller:

:

And go Bengals.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Yes, the Super Bowl is just a couple of days from now. Oh, that's true. Crystal is in San Diego. So yeah, we're covering both sides of the game, so we'll see. I'm having nightmares about Aaron Donald this week, so we'll see how it goes on Sunday afternoon. So you both have incredibly impressive backgrounds as meteorology experts and leaders. So may I ask you both to start here this conversation? What spurred your interest in weather patterns and forecasting?

Crystal Egger:

:

Sure, I'll kick it off. And speaking of Super Bowl, we know it's going to be a hot one here at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Kathryn, one of the hottest on record, possibly if we get close to 90.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

The forecast this morning had it being number three warmest.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow.

Crystal Egger:

:

It's been a nice, warm stretch.

Todd Miller:

:

It was only with you guys and we would have learned that. So thank you.

Crystal Egger:

:

Yes, I believe in 1973. The Super Bowl was eighty-fourdegrees in Los Angeles the last time Los Angeles hosted so, fun facts. Actually, Kathryn is full of weather tidbits. She's the tidbit queen, so we'll get a lot of that out of this discussion today. Sorry, we're off-topic, but I did grow up here in Southern California, so I don't really have a wild, exciting weather story as to what got me involved in meteorology. I initially studied communications and dabbled in marketing and PR for a while, and then on a whim, I had a girlfriend who wanted to do a radio-TVclass and we went at night to a city college to take this, this class, and we had our own news station called News Scene, and my professor had me do the weather a lot because I was comfortable with ad-libbing. We don't have a script, so we really just have to chit-chatlike this. And I loved that part of broadcasting, and she used to pull me aside and say, You should consider this. You seem comfortable. And I thought, Well, I really need to know what I'm talking about if I'm going to do this. And I loved math and science. And so putting the puzzles together to tell a weather story is really challenging and exciting, and I thought, I can talk to my dentist about the weather, my grandparents, my kids, everybody, everybody cares. It's universal. And so I started a meteorology program through Mississippi State University and loved it, and the rest is history. So that's my "in" into meteorology. Kathryn's story is way more exciting.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Well, it's not that it's more exciting. It's, you know, we all kind of have that different start. I am one of those I like to call it "a moment meteorologist" where there was that one moment. Usually, when you hear about meteorologists who talk about this, it happened at a really young age. So I was six years old in Dayton, Ohio, when I decided I was going to be a meteorologist. And the moment was, you know, those of us who were familiar in western Ohio weather, you get a lot of really big thunderstorms, you know, they're coming out of the Great Plains, they're in the summertime. They were just violent, keep you up all night, lots of lightning. So I was that kid who would run into the parent's room when I was scared, which is funny to think I became a meteorologist. But you know, I was at this party with my twin sister, a bunch of six-year-oldsaround, and this mother comes into the room and she's like, Bad weather is coming, everybody go home. So she sends us out into it. So she clearly was not watching The Weather Channel. Crystal was already there and we're running, and I remember the sky was green, and at that point, I just knew green sky equals bad. And all of a sudden this roar of wind comes through in a pea-green funnel cloud goes right over the street w we're running down, and of course, it was gone an instant. I'm looking in that direction because that's exactly where it went over the trees and it stopped me in my tracks. Like, I was not scared. It was like fear to curiosity in a second, and I was like, What was that? I want to see it again. And I got home soaking wet and told my parents that I was going to study. That just kind of pointed out to the storm. So Ohio is what gave my love. My family relocated when I was 10 to the Washington, D.C., area. And so I attended school at Virginia Tech, helped kick off the meteorology program there. And like Crystal said, the rest is history. My first job out of grad school is The Weather Channel, where I met Crystal.

Todd Miller:

:

Those are very neat stories both of you have. They are different, but really good stories. So, maybe I'm way off base on this. It kind of seems to me going back in my memory bank that as women in meteorology and weather, you two are kind of trailblazers of women in this field. Am I correct on that or are there others we should be just thinking about also? As far as maybe who blazed that trail a little bit earlier, I'm just curious.

Crystal Egger:

:

The short answer is yes. Many women have come before us and, you know, they helped inspire us and paved the way, you know, to be like, Hey, I can do that. You know, it's always when I work in television on that side, it's so important to be able to see yourself on the screen, you know, so growing up as a young girl, knowing I wanted to go into weather, I was watching The Weather Channel and I was watching women like Vivian Brown. As I got a little bit older, I was watching Stephanie Abrams, Maria LaRosa.

Todd Miller:

:

Sure.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Like, I can do that. They can do that. I was watching Crystal when I was in graduate school with, I didn't know I would end up aThe Weather Channelel at the time. So, you know, Crystal is one of my idols. Until I got to The Weather Channel, all of my mentors were men and they were fantastic. I wouldn't trade them for the world, but I was in research and science and it wasn't until I got into broadcasting that I got to experience the science with more women. And they've all helped me to where I am today.

Todd Miller:

:

Very neat.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

I definitely in my early days, I'm a lot older than Kathryn. Thanks for giving that away. I took my very first job in Idaho Falls because you've got to start somewhere and make your mistakes where a lot of people don't know you, especially on television. But Idaho and then Denver, I definitely had male mentors and role models, and I was just so honored to get a job at The Weather Channel because I was watching Kelly Cass, Heather Tesch, Samantha Moore, Jenn Carfagno. And I really looked up to them, and I feel things have really shifted. There's a lot more female representation now in the local markets as well. It seems like The Weather Channel really sort of set the stage for that. But I want to brag about Kathryn for a second because. In the world of business consulting, which we're doing now, there are not a lot of women, and Kathryn and I took this brave leap of faith together, and she actually became a Certified Consulting Meteorologist, a CCM, and is one of very few women in the world with that designation. I think there's two hundred and fifty active CCMs in the whole world, and Kathryn's like one of five percent women.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow.

Crystal Egger:

:

So that's pretty cool.

Todd Miller:

:

That's very cool. Fantastic. Congratulations. Well, congratulations to both of you, and thank you for all the great work that you're doing out there to help protect all of us and keep us all more aware also. So I'm thinking of you in Idaho Falls. Did you get sent out in the middle of storms to do on-locationshoots and all of that stuff?

Crystal Egger:

:

Oh yeah. When you first start you, you're a one-man band, a one-womanband, you really have to wear a lot of hats. So I go out and do a weather-relatedstory or an environmental story and you set up your camera, shoot your own stand-ups, go back, edit the story. You learn all of the skills to eventually make it to a bigger market. I would say my worst experience is being in the field, we're in Denver. I worked there for over four years on a morning show and I was the meteorologist in the field for the beginning. So at 2:00 a.m. I wake up and head to a different ski resort or get stuck on the side of the foothills and Boulder and Golden Colorado, with winds up to 100 miles per hour and just trying to hang on. So the weather was pretty wild there. We did a little tornado chasing at times and yeah, that was my real experience being in the elements.

Todd Miller:

:

They can get some violent stuff in Denver, especially now in the summers. You hear about the hailstorms.

Crystal Egger:

:

Oh yeah.

Todd Miller:

:

All of that as well. So Crystal, this is a little bit off-topic, but I still have to ask, so you are the founder of A Sunny Space, which is a documentary and lifestyle video production company that focuses on telling the stories of trailblazing women and brands and how they're reshaping the world. I'd just love to hear a little bit about that. I don't want to get too far off-topic, but I would love to hear a little bit about what you're doing with that.

Crystal Egger:

:

Sure. And thanks, thanks for being interested. You know, when I left broadcasting four years ago, I was in Los Angeles and I was on a morning show. We talked a lot about like the entertainment world and Kardashians and Housewives and I just I'm raising daughters and I felt that we were moving away from real role models. We are highlighting these influencers that are not having a positive influence on our young girls. And I left L.A. and I didn't know for sure what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to keep going in the weather world somehow. And luckily, Kathryn and I, we were hired by an international technology company and started working as weather and climate advisors. That's what kicked off this whole idea of Monarch. But on the side, I had this creative passion project to tell stories about these trailblazers and really give them a pedestal. And so I was able to collaborate with a women's denim brand and do a documentary series as part of their marketing efforts, and I'm so proud of that project. So right now we're working on what's next as I navigate mostly Monarch.

Todd Miller:

:

Yeah, I've no doubt how you do everything. You're very busy. Well, Seth and his wife are raising two beautiful young daughters, so you got some good content there to check out at A Sunny Space and some good things to inspire them with. Good stuff.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Well, transitioning back to weather and construction, as I mentioned earlier, you know, whenever we go into our industry events and meetings where the whole industry is getting together and talking about, you know, what the future looks like, what we'd be needing, what we need to be paying attention to. It's impossible for us to not be involved with topics relating to making buildings more capable of withstanding extreme weather. I know that the list is incredibly long, but what are some of the changes in weather patterns that the construction industry and those of us in it every day absolutely must respond to for the safety and protection of humanity and those we love.

Crystal Egger:

:

So I'll kick us off here and we'll keep it casual, so please feel free to jump in. But you know the first thing that comes to mind. One, hurricanes. You know, it's on everybody's mind. We've had two above-average seasons in a row that were just record-settingin multiple ways. And as the atmosphere warms and as the oceans warm, you know there is science everywhere. Because I have my finger on the pulse of all the latest research and all the studies, we're going to have more hurricanes that rapidly intensify right before they hit the coast. So that leads to preparation issues, but also stronger hurricanes that are making landfall at higher intensities. Also, as waters warm and that warming water moves farther north with time, we are worried that there could be the potential for more landfallingtropical cyclones at higher north latitude cities like New York, like Boston, like Beijing, Tokyo in the Pacific. So, you know, buildings in Florida are constructed to withstand tropical cyclones. Buildings in New Jersey and New York are not. And so, you know, when Tropical Storm Isaias slammed the tri-statein 2020, we all saw the headlines of the extreme wind damage and then the power outages that lasted for weeks. So that is one for sure. The tropical cyclones we'll get into a little bit more of. But Tornado Alley, maybe shifting East when we're talking about increased vulnerabilities there. And of course, wildfire season is getting more intense and longer. Yeah, I think it all comes back to the idea that you know, the infrastructure in place for the 20th century or the 20th-centuryclimate, really, it needs to be fortified, you know. That climate no longer exists because we always say that we don't like to turn people away and talk about global warming. It's more about our changing climate. Our climate has been changing for hundreds of thousands of years, and the climate normals are shifting right. We had a fire yesterday here in Laguna Beach in February. We have record heat. We're flirting with red flag warnings. This was not the case when I was growing up, we had a well-defined fire season. And now if the ingredients are there, it can happen any time of year. So it's really adjusting construction and building plans around new climate normals.

Seth Heckaman:

:

That was certainly a loaded answer of planning we have to be thinking about and worrying about and covered every area of the country, you know, into that conversation. So, Kathryn, I'm curious so that, you know, you talked about hurricanes coming in and that rapidly increasing before it hits the coast. So that's something new and unique. And what is your, how would you explain to a layman about why that is happening?

Crystal Egger:

:

So it all has to do with the warming temperatures. So, basically warm, the warm water, that's the fuel, a hurricane for the engineers out there. You know, a hurricane is a heat engine. So as long as it's kind of recycling all of that warm water, it's going to keep going. And the warmer the water, the higher the echelon that that storm can go in terms of wind speed. So we're looking at all the data, decades and decades, and the trend line is doing this on the number of hurricanes that are rapidly intensified. So it's interesting when you really break down the science. We can't yet say with high confidence that climate change or our changing climate equals more hurricanes. We can't yet say that, but what we can say is changing climate equals more rapidly intensifying hurricanes. So last year, at the risk of getting the stats slightly wrong, it was at one point, 5/6 of the hurricanes we had in 2021, all went through rapid intensification. Nearly every single one we saw did it. And quickly, the definition is a storm that basically increases in a certain level of wind speed within twenty-fourhours. So that's how you define rapid intensification. But the problem is, as these waters warm and it's happening at the coastlines, you look at the Gulf of Mexico and the warming trend in the Gulf of Mexico. These storms and these cyclones can just continue to increase in intensity, intensity, intensity, boom until they hit the land. And we saw it with Laura. We saw it with Ida this year when it hit New Orleans. It's a major problem.

Crystal Egger:

:

And Kathryn, wouldn't you say that we are seeing the progression and track farther northward, maintaining tropical characteristics, which is why the tri-statearea would have significant flooding because you don't just have an average nor'easter type event, it's actually tropical in nature, and that's just a tremendous amount of rainfall.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So you know that those New England states just got hit within the last week with a significant winter storm. I'm assuming this doesn't just apply to rainfall and what we think about hurricanes, but these winter storms as well will be hitting, you know, obviously, they only hit in the north, but hitting more frequently, being more susceptible to those also.

Crystal Egger:

:

It seems counterintuitive, right, Kathryn? It's like it's the idea of weather extremes, more available moisture for heavy rain events, but also for heavy snow events. And then even what happened in Texas last February with the massive cold outbreak, that has to do with the changing jet stream, and Kathryn is really an expert on that if she wants to jump in.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah, I'm smiling because one of the best ways I can get people's attention lately to even listen to a topic on climate change is when I say, You know, climate change can create bigger snowstorms and they go, What you know, right? Because everyone is like, you know, I'm sure we've heard the jokes. I'm shoveling six inches of global warming off my sidewalk, right? And I'm like, Yes, you are. Because like you said, you know, just the same way that warm water can fuel a hurricane, warm water can fuel a nor'easter. And so all it takes is more water in the atmosphere. And if it's cold enough to be snow, think of it like a sponge that's wetter. So when you wring it out, more is going to come out and you can get more snow. That is pretty specific to the Northeast in terms of cities that are actually seeing an increasing trend in snow with climate change. But that's happening right now, and we're seeing it. And then to Crystal's point about the cold outbreak in Texas, that's another thing where, as the Arctic gets warmer, cold outbreaks will get colder and you kind of have to let that sink in. And again, you're like, How? Well, when you're warming at the poles, it's disrupting the polar vortex, and we've all heard that term. We love bringing it up every winter. It's basically a vortex that holds the cold air bottled up at the poles, both of them. And when you have Arctic warming, it weakens it and so the lobes can break down and they can make it all the way down to southern Texas. So those types of cold outbreaks at farther south latitudes are likely to become more common because of the warming atmosphere.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Interesting. Thank you for all of that, and thanks for bringing up the Texas storm that was in our list of questions because last year we viewed it as such a freak fluke occurrence. And then just again, within the last couple of weeks, they had another cold outbreak. And all of a sudden we're talking about, you know, walls that aren't insulated around water pipes and things that then start impacting us and construction, having great, you know, those homeowners being greatly susceptible to the negative effects of that. So in reading ahead and doing some research on Monarch and the work you all are doing, read something that I had not thought about before and that was how changing weather patterns are impacting pollen counts and perhaps even types of pollen in certain areas. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? And do you think that has an impact on the need for indoor air quality purification? You know how that then crosses over and impacts those of us in construction?

Crystal Egger:

:

Sure, I'll take this. I'm actually moderating a webinar around this topic next week because we supply wildfire smoke data to an allergy and asthma app called Daily Breath. And one of the hot topics right now is really how do we understand our changing climate and how it relates to respiratory health? And certainly, if we're seeing warmer temperatures, our seasons are shifting and we're actually noticing longer allergy seasons. And then on top of that, you know, with more days above freezing, that creates a longer growing season, which in turn affects the onset of allergy season. There's the idea that having more heating is going to increase ground-levelozone. We know that for sure, and that can lead to respiratory issues. And then all this talk we've already done about warming ocean temperatures and how we're getting more evaporation in the atmosphere and heavy rain events. And that can also lead to more algae bloom, concerns about mold. The microorganisms can grow more efficiently in those environments. So you've also got the wildfire threats and wildfire smoke and how that impacts air quality. So certainly, I think the need for indoor air quality and purification is vital as we monitor these changes. Sounds very doom and gloom, doesn't it? I have a cousin with asthma so we take it very seriously if there's a wildfire in the area doing everything we can to protect his respiratory health.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Sure. And Kathryn, like you said earlier, those fires are becoming more and more common. So we have a couple of salespeople out west and we tune in to our Tuesday morning sales meetings. And yeah, even the air in their offices looks a little hazy, depending on what's going on in the area. And so it's a lot of people are living with those conditions and having to think about how we control the interior living spaces of our structure to accommodate them. So thank you for the explanation. I'm glad we have really smart people like you guys understanding the millions of variables coming together on these issues.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

It's like cannonballs everywhere you look. Climate's got a footprint.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Yeah, exactly. Absolutely.

Crystal Egger:

:

Yeah, we always joke that it's like job security for us because, you know, the weather is ever-changing. The climate is such a hot topic right now, and of course, we're so passionate about what we can do to help and especially in the environmental health space. So we love what we're doing.

Seth Heckaman:

:

It's nice talking with you too, and you kind of clarified it and try to position early on not making this a partisan or hot topic issue, but looking at the realities of weather, what we think the bigger picture is. Ultimately, there's still considerations to be made currently. So thank you. When we think about changes in weather patterns, we often think about coastal areas and other areas that were already at risk of, but really there are impacts in other geographic areas. Kathryn, you talked about Tornado Alley and how that's shifting to new areas. So what can you tell us about those?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah. So this is another one that's not so intuitive until you start to think about it and then it gets a little worrisome. So, you know, I mentioned my love for weather came from a severe storm. And so my niche even now is tornadoes and severe weather. And I go out to the Great Plains every year and I chase storms and tornadoes. And you know, the Great Plains are they've been Tornado Alley for a reason. It's where all of the ingredients come together to form a tornado and why it's "safe." I use that with air quotes "safe" to go out and chase there is because it's flat. It's open, you have great visibility, it's a lot of farmland and not as high of a population. And what I'm getting at there is now research is showing that with our changing climate, Tornado Alley is shifting east more into the Mississippi Valley, into the southeast parts of the Ohio River Valley. And what happens when you get that is you have higher population centers there. You have worse visibility, hills, trees, those of us who have been through those regions and you have a higher incidence, or I should say, density of mobile home construction, you know, to get to this construction angle. And that really, really worries us. Because again, if you've got more mobile homes out there and places that don't have automatic storm shelters, a lot of places that may not have basements to be able to get people out of harm's way if tornado frequency is increasing farther east and we just saw it happen. You'll hear Crystal and I bring up constant current events of the December tornadoes in Kentucky, the Mayfield Kentucky EF4 tornado, it also hit Dawson Springs. Bowling Green was hit by a tornado. That was you were seeing the climate influence there in a nutshell that it happened in December, when more winter tornadoes will be more common as well. And then in the zone, which is exactly where we expect to see that shift happen.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Wow. Now I certainly remember the Kentucky tornadoes. So recently, those of us here in west-centralOhio, the Memorial Day tornadoes, just you know, the springtime when you expected a little bit more, right? Certainly, those types of storms are top of mind also. Let's switch gears a little bit. Talk specifically about fire for a moment which has been top of mind for a lot of us in construction here in the last couple of years because we fielded a ton of calls from architects, builders, and property owners working to rebuild after the devastating Northern California fires from a few years ago that, you know, being so devastating that that rebuilding is going on still a few years later. And of course, there have been, you know, fires in countless other areas as well. Many of those are in areas where folks are wanting to build closer to nature also, which is driving them close to where the fires are going to be. What can you tell us about wildfires, what those causes are, how it relates to climate, and what else do we need to be thinking about?

Crystal Egger:

:

Wow, yeah, I know, Kathryn, you have some great stats here, so I want you to chime in too. But I would say that being here on the West Coast, of course, we're seeing longer, more intense wildfire seasons. I talked earlier about there not really being a definition to the fire season. We've had fires this week here in February. What happened in Colorado, you know, building you call it an urban firestorm, Kathryn.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yes.

Crystal Egger:

:

Building close to, building in such a vulnerable area up against the foothills and then going through extreme drought and having a significant wind event come along during the month of December, it's really unheard of. But that was the case with the Colorado fire. And as you know, those homes were completely destroyed. So I think understanding climate-relatedrisk is critical. One way to go about the building process, too, is just to have meteorologists assisting with better planning and project activity that can certainly help and improve efficiencies. But really, knowing what you're up against, to make sure there's a fire mitigation plan with the landscaping, and we're not experts in building material by any means, but a lot of these areas we're building into are just extremely vulnerable to fires. So I think we need to understand that first and foremost.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah, that wildland-urbaninterface zone is getting very crowded and crowded with buildings. And you mentioned it, Crystal just mentioned it, that we're just building in these transition zones that are meant to separate wilderness from urban areas. So they're meant to burn. They've been burning for, you know, hundreds, thousands, millions of years, and they'll continue to burn. And I looked at the stat for this podcast to make sure I got it right. You mentioned the wildfires in California a few years ago. So of the top 20 most destructive wildfires in California history, the metric is buildings destroyed, 17 out of the top 20 have all occurred since 2000. And if you break it down even more 13 of the top 20 since 2015, and that's a little bit more recent memory for us. And of course, the Colorado one that just happened that Crystal mentioned quickly, like this, became Colorado's most destructive wildfire in history. So it seems like every single one, it's like a bad game, you know, is becoming the most destructive in history.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So is it just building trends that are driven by putting houses in these places where we shouldn't be or were smart enough to not previously? Or did codes change? I don't know. I don't know what the question is there.

Crystal Egger:

:

I think a lot of it has to do with population expansion.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Sure.

Crystal Egger:

:

And a lot of people wanting to get out of the city and live in those more wilderness-typeareas, especially in the wake of the pandemic. I know this idea of working from home has opened up more possibilities to be outside the city, wouldn't you say?

Seth Heckaman:

:

It's a good point? Yeah, absolutely.

Todd Miller:

:

You know, we talk about fire. On the other end of that, we've already talked a little bit about ice and, you know, we go back again to the Texas situation a year ago and homes certainly weren't built and prepared for that. And really, I don't see a lot of change yet in the building codes to encourage homes in those areas to be more resilient when it comes to cold. But it certainly sounds like that's something that a change that needs to occur. Would you agree?

Crystal Egger:

:

Absolutely. Kathryn, especially, you know, we do some power outage modeling and pipe freeze modeling. And I just think it's important for the construction engineers, builders, property insurance folks to really understand what's at risk with these changing climate normals so that they can better prepare the buildings going forward.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah. And, you know, back to wildfires quickly and interesting information that we learned a couple of years ago is that wildfires burn hotter than a house fire. And so, you know, you have a higher frequency of all of these wildfires that are hitting buildings. And you know, it comes down to melting point. The example I remember that I learned, which was like in a house fire, all jewelry might not melt, but in a wildfire will and then that you can kind of try to translate that to engineering of what types of materials might be able to withstand higher heat if they're at a higher propensity for a wildfire to come through. So it's all about that kind of almost thinking down to bolt level with construction to try to mitigate issues with all of these extremes.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

And we are seeing some changes occurring in some building materials. I mean, one of the things that comes to mind is there's a number of people working on vents for attics and structures that close down in the event of a wildfire so that they can't bring in the heat and the burning brands. But you know, one of the things still that I see is that the process to change building codes is very slow. I mean, I've lived that a few times, and it's just the code cycles themselves means that it's going to be at least three to five, maybe even seven or eight years if you want to enact a change to the building code. So if someone out there is thinking about building a new home, would it also be wise for them to think beyond the code and to consult a meteorologist or someone like Monarch in order to get your input and feedback as well?

Crystal Egger:

:

Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, one thing we do is we can model our temperatures going forward. We have this project called Climate 360, where we look at various weather parameters, whether it's precipitation, understanding carbon emissions, temperature, wind, just to see what the risks would be and then the work with the builder, I suppose on the most resilient home for the changing climate. But I think we work with a construction engineering risk management platform, and what we help them do is we provide global data because they are global. So helping them understand where they're expanding and what the risks are going to be. So there's essentially a geolocation for each risk so that it can help stakeholders fully understand all the natural hazards they're up against and to best prepare for the future.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah, I would say a lot of our clients, especially early on, I would describe them as visionaries because, you know, they kind of came to us and they were like, I feel like this climate change situation is important. I don't know what it means for me yet, but I want to speak with experts. And, you know, not everybody has caught on yet. And to your point, you know, they really need to. And it's everything from local level or a household level to a big corporation that needs to be thinking about this.

Todd Miller:

:

Well, I certainly feel like I am learning so much that needs to be brought to the building industry, especially to building products manufacturers to be thinking about these things. So tell me a bit more about who the typical clients are at Monarch. Who are you currently working with? And it sounds like maybe there's a little bit of inroads into construction, but not a whole lot currently. Love to help you grow that, figure out how to grow that because it's so important. But who are some of your typical clients right now? What types of businesses?

Crystal Egger:

:

Yeah, well, we are doing a lot in the agriculture space, which is, as you know, as reliant on the weather and climate as anyone. So definitely agriculture and we work with a private satellite company. So we're in the aerospace industry there, helping them test their satellites for global flood damage. And we're also working on a wind modeling API that they can use to understand wind damage. So it's not just Kathryn and I, her and I are sort of the face of Monarch, and we do a lot of the reach out to potential clients and project management. But we have a whole team of data scientists and what they do is they look at past current and future weather and, as we always say, turn weather into impact. We create modeling and APIs specific to what industry we're working with and what they're interested in. And then in the insurance space, helping with underwriting and understanding physical risks to assets not only nationally but globally. So our team, we work with they worked in the intel community for decades, providing this type of information. And now we're getting into the commercial space.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah, a lot of the clients Crystal just mentioned, it seems like all roads lead to insurance. Somehow, even if an insurance company is not our direct client, the private satellite company is, they're using our flood modeling to make sure they position their satellites correctly to get photosbefore and after photos of the flood. That, then, is important for the insurance industry and, you know, agriculture losses on a farm due to a hailstorm insurance issue. You know, x y z, it all kind of ends there, if you will.

Crystal Egger:

:

We've also done forensic meteorology, which is really exciting. Looking back on a large weather event, one example was actually here in Southern California, a lawyer approached us because there was wind damage, significant wind damage to one of the commercial properties that they own, and they needed to better understand what happened. You know, how strong were those winds, and was it part of the insurance policy? Would it have been covered? So we get to investigate and go deeper and Kathryn can actually present in court having her CCM, so. And that's the forensic side of meteorology.

Todd Miller:

:

That's pretty interesting stuff, and I know a number of building engineers who get involved in that, and sometimes it does overlap with a weather event or occurrence as well. You know, they say that the and I think this is true, the number one consumer or purchaser of roofing in the United States is State Farm Insurance because of all the hail claims. So there's so much tie in here, obviously between construction and weather. Now, of course, as you said, you're not construction experts, but just as you look at what's happening, you think about it. Are there any particular building materials that come to mind for you that gee whiz, I'd be avoiding that, or I'd be thinking about ways to fortify or shore up this area of the structure, I guess, is geographically driven to some degree?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Oh, that's a good question. I'll jump in quickly just because my brain as a tornado researcher and a tornado chaser, it goes back to mobile homes. I realize it's not like a single material, but mobile homes, you know, they scare me everywhere I go. And, you know, we're not. Tornadoes get a lot of attention, you know, because of the destruction and what they look like, of course. But you know, as we get more extremes, we're going to get more just kind of large-scalewind events, you know, and wind storms like what happened in Colorado, for example, and those are going to turn over mobile homes. So it's just, you know, all of these extremes are going to put anyone who lives in one at risk from any type of, you know, whether it be even flood a tropical system. It's going to turn one of those right over.

Crystal Egger:

:

I have a comment there, too, when it comes to energy efficiency and air conditioning, for example, I live fairly close to the coast here in San Diego, and all of my neighbors have put in air conditioning units in the past five to ten years and never needed them prior. So not only have the climate normals shifted with the high temperature, but even we're experiencing more humidity because of the evaporation happening with the warming ocean waters. So overnight temperatures are more uncomfortable. If you have a two-storyhome, it can be brutal sleeping upstairs that night without air conditioning. So I've seen a big movement in air conditioning units in these coastal areas.

Todd Miller:

:

You know, one of the topics we've also talked about here on Construction Disruption is offsite construction and offsite construction doesn't necessarily mean the mobile homes anymore. And you know, you're right. Here in the Midwest. I mean, there's always this statement. Why are mobile homes always magnets for tornadoes? And in reality, that isn't the case. It's just they're not built to withstand them. So if they do get hit, the results are devastating. But you know, one of the things that they are talking a lot about on the new face of off-siteconstruction today is the buildings are actually more resilient they feel than field-builtbuildings in some cases. So there may be some hope there. But again, a lot of it comes down to effecting changes in the building codes to be able to withstand this.

Crystal Egger:

:

I mean, I love the name of your podcast, Construction Disruption. I think a lot of that would have to do with the weather. But what about what are you guys up against right now with supply chain disruption and how is that impacting your industry? I'm still waiting on an extra room we're supposed to get seven months ago.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh yeah.

Crystal Egger:

:

It's a pre-manufactured room.

Seth Heckaman:

:

You know you may be waiting another seven months, is the answer.

Crystal Egger:

:

Oh no.

Seth Heckaman:

:

It's yeah, converging of so many different variables, you know, kind of similar to all the different variables we're talking about here, but it has certainly turned things upside down. Whether it's on the import side of lead times being six weeks and now being twenty-six weeks and costs being multiplied that much. You know, COVID certainly did a number on so much of domestic production and manufacturing also that just really pinched supply there. Yeah. Pinch supply, demand and it slowed down. So all the sudden it's backed up and a hole that it's going to take years to dig out of. So. And but the cold snap we were talking about Texas earlier, some of these disruptions date back to that winter storm a year ago of chemical plants that, you know, were shut down for a week. And you know, with all that ice and, you know, COVID came afterwards and made it even worse. But these events certainly have an impact on the economy as a whole, much further than the immediate area that they hit. No question.

Crystal Egger:

:

What was the lead time on that forecast? Kathryn, I'm sure you were very involved with NBC.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Oh yeah, I mean, it was several days in advance. I do remember seeing, you know, obviously, our certainty in a forecast gets lower with time out, but I remember seeing a climate prediction center outlook. You know, they go one. They could go anything from six to 14 days out to a month to two months, and they started showing that blue they only do above or below average temperature is kind of what they're guessing. So it was starting to show up probably a few weeks and if not, maybe more than that off the top of my head. But there was lead time, you know, now did it again hit that upper limit of every extreme? Yes. You know, at some point we can do our best in forecasting. But one thing that I keep running into and all the research I'm constantly reading is we'll have an extreme event happen and we'll look at the data and we'll say, Oh, no, our climate models are not keeping up with these events, like they're projecting rainfall rates to increase, but rainfall rates are increasing more than the models are projecting so current. The climate is outpacing our best modeling techniques in many realms right now, which is very worrisome.

Seth Heckaman:

:

As we've been sitting here talking about one additional question, I realized this is the perfect place for me to ask, you know, a couple, I guess a couple of years ago, it was a big event. Around here was the derecho in Iowa that came through. So I finally get to ask someone that knows how to pronounce it on whether I've been pronouncing it right for the last two years. So how do you say it?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

You are right. You're right, derecho.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So what in the world is that? And are there more of those storms going to be coming?

Crystal Egger:

:

Yes. So first question, a derecho, it's you know, we all know we hear the word line of storms or a squall line, which is just a linear line of storms that's charging usually east. I describe a derecho as a squall line on steroids. It's bigger, it's moving faster and it's a lot stronger than your typical squall line. So, you know, there's official definitions out there. Meteorologists fight about them all the time because we like our definitions and then they change. But the one that I was taught is you have to have, it's usually charging at a distance of over 100 miles long, and it's producing 75 mile an hour. Or we call them hurricane-forcewind gusts along the way. So, you know, again, that's the upper echelon. Seventy-fiveplus miles an hour, these things produce over a hundred mile an hour wind gusts. And now that's the easy question of what is a derecho. The hard question is, will they become more common with climate change? Short answer, no. When you're talking about other than that geographic shift, the spatial shift we talked about with tornadoes, we can't say, you know, changing climate equals more tornadoes. And you know, when you're talking about tornadoes, small-scalederechos, all that stuff, it's the type of weather we have the least confidence of connecting to climate change right now. Now, if there's one thing that is starting to trickle in as scientists study it, it has to do with another shift. So just like Tornado Alley is shifting east, derechos may shift north. So again, if you follow the warmth we keep talking about, that is, you know, everything warms to the north. Then we may see derechos occur farther north with time, but we can't say if they'll be more frequent yet.

Crystal Egger:

:

I think we all just need to move to Iceland someday. It's going to be great.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah.

Seth Heckaman:

:

There we go.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

That's right. We're all going to be living in Iceland, North Pole with Santa Claus.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Well, I'm glad we have solutions anyway. We may need to migrate.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

We do, yes.

Seth Heckaman:

:

There we go. Well, thank you. This has been incredibly interesting and just, yeah, so great to know that there's people out there who understand these things. And then there's opportunities to bridge these gaps between industries and understand how we can all work together to solve big problems that we have no choice other than to solve. So thank you so much. We're nearing the end of our time here today. Before we do wrap up, we need to ask you if you two are willing to participate in our rapid-firequestion round. So it is something a little more lighthearted that we like to wrap up here. Let folks get to know you just a little bit more. Only commitment. There's seven questions. You commit to providing an answer for each one. So Crystal and Kathryn, are you up to rapid-firequestions?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yes, we've been nervous about this all day, but yes.

Seth Heckaman:

:

There we go.

Todd Miller:

:

Nothing to be nervous about.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So Todd very much enjoys putting these questions together, so we'll see what he came up with for today. So, oh, he's starting it out with an easy one. We'll alternate asking these. But first question, what's your favorite food?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Tacos.

Crystal Egger:

:

Oh gosh, I was going to say Mexican. So anything Mexican

Seth Heckaman:

:

That makes three of us.

Todd Miller:

:

Awesome.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

All right.

Todd Miller:

:

Favorite place in the world?

Crystal Egger:

:

Switzerland.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Oh, good answer Crystal.

Crystal Egger:

:

Well you know, my husband's Swiss. We got to spend time there a couple of summers ago. Definitely Switzerland.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Mine is not that exotic. Atlanta. I loved living in Atlanta, my time there.

Todd Miller:

:

Very neat, not quite as exotic, but good answer.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Not at all.

Crystal Egger:

:

We need to get you to a remote island or something.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yes, sounds great.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So I was going to guess like Oklahoma in the middle of a tornado or something, but that would have been my guess.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

My second answer would be Guymon, Oklahoma. I don't know how many people listening even know where that is, but that's my favorite plains town.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow, need to check that out, learn more.

Seth Heckaman:

:

So if you have siblings, where do you fall age-wise, among them?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

I'm the baby.

Crystal Egger:

:

Middle.

Todd Miller:

:

Any upgrades that you made to your home office recently, perhaps related to the whole work from home thing, but any upgrades you've made that you think are cool?

Crystal Egger:

:

You know what comes to mind for me? I was freelancing for NBC San Diego throughout the pandemic just to help out for a bit while they were filling a meteorology spot. And I was broadcasting with a giant green screen from my master bedroom and I have lights and cameras everywhere, and I'd have to kick my husband out really early in the morning to make it to The Morning Show, and it was a tough time for the whole family.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow, that's awesome, though. What an incredible story! Good stuff.

Crystal Egger:

:

Crystal has me beat, mine's also on the broadcast side. That work from home I had all my producer equipment, like a little home production studio, but I left New York and went to spend the time with my parents. I was producing the Today show from my childhood bedroom, which was, you know, very. And then I'd go down to the kitchen to get more coffee, and my mother was watching GMA. A lot of this going on.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Great stories. Thank you. Who in life has inspired you the most?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

I thought these were going to be easy questions like favorite food. Go ahead, Crystal.

Crystal Egger:

:

I wanted to say Kathryn and I will say Kathryn.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Oh.

Crystal Egger:

:

Because she's kept me going on this journey. Kathryn and my oldest daughter, Sailor, she was born one pound, 14 ounces, and she's now in junior high and, you know, she's defied all the odds against her. And every time things get tough, I just think about where we were at one point and how far we've all come, and I know that it's all going to work out.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Oh, well, I'll also say Crystal, especially since I was watching you while I was in grad school, and Crystal's not that much older than me, just so everybody knows I don't get yelled at later. And then the second one would probably be my twin sister. You know, she is a little older than me, but we've been through a lot starting from when we were babies. So that's a long story for another day. But she is my biggest cheerleader, my biggest advocate. We are in a healthy competition. Who's going to be the breadwinner twin? It just means you buy all the dinners when we're together, but we just constantly encourage each other to be better and do better in life.

Todd Miller:

:

Those are both incredible answers. Great. So two more questions. One of them is going to take a little bit thought. I'll hit you with that one the next and the other one after that shouldn't take too much thought. Worst piece of advice you've ever received?

Crystal Egger:

:

I had something come to mind, so I'll let you think Kathryn, one of my favorite sayings and I don't know if it's considered as advice, but "It is what it is." I just hate when people say that it is what it is, and I'm like, No, you can make it different. You can make it better. It isn't just what it is.

Todd Miller:

:

That's good. I've caught myself saying that. That's good.

Crystal Egger:

:

I like to say I'm eternally optimistic, so always like the best is yet to come, so I like that kind of advice.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Let's see, the worst piece... You can, I don't know if you all can hear the sirens. Giveaway I'm in New York so we can hear it.

Crystal Egger:

:

There was a shooting at the bottom of her building.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

There was. It makes me stronger. I think it is quite personal, but I was just able to kind of pay it forward. I was told at a very young age while I was on a tour of The Weather Channel, the person is no longer there. He wasn't there when I started working there, but I was 16, obviously looking to get into broadcasting. And he said, You don't have the look. I would suggest pursuing something else.

Todd Miller:

:

Oh, my goodness.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Obviously, I didn't listen right, and I was very lucky. About a month ago, I was speaking to a bunch of students with my mentor at Virginia Tech, and he asked me to stay behind, speak to a certain student. And when I alluded to tough times with my twin sister, long story short, we were born with a facial deformity, had to have a lot of corrective surgery going on. My mentor asked me to stay behind and speak with a student who had facial asymmetry, and he wanted to go into broadcast meteorology and had never, you know, always gotten pushed back. In no way are you ever going to make it and blah blah blah blah. And I told him, Don't listen to them, you know, if that's what you want to do. You go and do it. Like Crystal said, the best is yet to come. Follow your passion. But I was kind of initially told to not pursue my career because of how I looked.

Todd Miller:

:

Wow. And what a blessing you are to the world now.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Absolutely.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Well, thank you. I'm pretty stubborn. I don't really listen to people sometimes, so I guess that's a good thing.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Thank goodness. Just makes the story better. So thank you. So last one, this is the lighthearted element of rapid-fire. If you had to eat a crayon, what color would you choose?

Crystal Egger:

:

I know.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Easy, red.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Really? OK.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Yeah. Yeah.

Crystal Egger:

:

Actually, yellow. Yellow, sunshine, sunny space, yellow comes to mind.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Very good. We've gotten yellow before, I was not expecting red.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

It is my favorite color and I love, I have a very special history with my best friend about red icing roses. I don't know if you all know like red icing can be very bitter and not everybody likes red icing, so those roses sometimes get tossed aside and I love them. So I imagine a red crayon.

Crystal Egger:

:

You got me thinking about Valentine's Day.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

That's right.

Crystal Egger:

:

Nice.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Well, thank you both. This has been incredible. It's such a wonderful conversation. And again, opening our horizons to what we need to be thinking about and the opportunities for cross-disciplineconversations on solving these problems facing all of us. Before we wrap up, is there anything that we didn't touch on that you would like to convey or tell the audience before we finish?

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Crystal, we kind of brainstormed this a little bit earlier, but we did hit on it, but we'll put it again. Climate change is not political. It's science and our climate is changing, and it's the rate at which it's changing, which is why it's different for past episodes of warming. And we just want to get that across to people. Don't make it political because as you do that, we won't be able to make change to make things better.

Crystal Egger:

:

Focus on the solutions. It's not doom and gloom.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Right.

Seth Heckaman:

:

Fantastic. Thank you. So if someone would want to connect with you all individually or Monarch for partnership opportunities, what's the best way to do that?

Crystal Egger:

:

I guess kathryn@monarchweather.com, crystal@monarchweather.com, or you can go to our website, monarchweather.com. Did I get that right? And we'd love to help you guys. If you need any weather climate assistance, we're here. Just pick up the phone and give us a ring or shoot us an email.

Kathryn Prociv:

:

Well, it's interesting. I'm involved in a couple of trade associations of building products manufacturers and you're going to be on my recommended speakers going forward because this is just a very important topic that our industry does not talk enough about. Our industry, frankly, sometimes has a tendency to push back on building code changes because they're kind of paying for it. You got to retool, you got to redesign, you got to do things differently. But in reality, what we're hearing here is we need to be more proactive on development of products and being able to respond to the situations. Good stuff. Thank you.

Crystal Egger:

:

We'd be happy to help be a part of that.

Crystal Egger:

:

Seth Heckaman: Fantastic, I look forward to those future conversations. So thank you so much, Crystal and Kathryn, and thank you listeners for tuning in to this episode of Construction Disruption with our guests, Crystal Egger and Kathryn Prociv of Monarch Weather Consulting. Please watch for future episodes of our podcast. We have many more great guests on tap. And don't forget, please, if you would leave a review or rating on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or your favorite podcast platform. Until then, change the world for someone, make them smile, encourage them. Two of the most powerful things we can do. God bless, take care. See you next time for the next episode of Construction Disruption.

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