Cyrena Arnold of Francestown combines meteorology and children’s books

Cyrena Arnold as the director of summit operations for the Mount Washington Observatory. 

Cyrena Arnold as the director of summit operations for the Mount Washington Observatory.  COURTESY PHOTO

 Cyrena Arnold hikes up Mount Washington to Harvard Cabin to inspect remote observatory weather stations around the White Mountains.

 Cyrena Arnold hikes up Mount Washington to Harvard Cabin to inspect remote observatory weather stations around the White Mountains. —COURTESY PHOTO

Cyrena Arnold on the summit of Mount Washington with a Vermont television station.

Cyrena Arnold on the summit of Mount Washington with a Vermont television station. COURTESY PHOTO

 “The Weather Story with Frances Fox,” by Cyrena Arnold.

“The Weather Story with Frances Fox,” by Cyrena Arnold. —COURTESY PHOTO

Cyrena Arnold speaks to a group of 300 young women at the Jr. Tech STEM Summit at Regis College in 2017.

Cyrena Arnold speaks to a group of 300 young women at the Jr. Tech STEM Summit at Regis College in 2017. —COURTESY PHOTO

By MAGGIE BARIBAULT

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 01-31-2024 9:00 AM

Modified: 02-08-2024 11:20 AM


“If a storm makes you scared or you want the sun to shine, remember it won’t last long. Weather changes all the time,” wrote New Hampshire meteorologist Cyrena Arnold in her 2020 children’s book, “The Weather Story with Frances Fox.”

Currently, Arnold works as the director of product marketing for the weather data company Atmospheric G2, based in Manchester, and as a multi-platform social media weather educator with over 30,000 followers, providing weather forecasts for the Monadnock region and explaining the natural processes that lead to weather events.

A Francestown resident, Arnold has been fascinated with the weather since she was 5 years old. After being born in Curacao, an island country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, she moved to Denver at the age of 4. It was there she was exposed to severe weather for the first time.

“One day as a child, I was standing there and a thunderstorm rolled in. There was hail, strong winds and lightning, all these things I hadn’t seen before,” she said. “Then a funnel cloud formed and it turned into a tornado. I remember standing there in the doorway with my mom watching.”

“It’s like a switch flipped in my brain,” she said. “From that point on I’ve just been completely obsessed with the weather.”

Now, Arnold has more than 20 years of experience as a meteorologist. Her career has included storm-chasing, TV meteorology on NH1 News, filming an international show with the BBC’s Richard Hammond on top of Mount Washington, speaking at STEM conferences, icing and turbulence testing of NASA aircraft and installing and maintaining weather stations in the Alaskan tundra for several weeks at a time.

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She said writing a book felt like the next career step.

“I’ve always been someone that’s very intuitively good at translating complex subjects to people in an easy-to-understand way,” Arnold said.

When her sister-in-law came to her because her daughter was afraid of storms, Arnold started looking for some weather books to send her niece. She found a need in the industry for accessible meteorology education, so she decided to write and illustrate her own to explain complex and ideological science topics in a simpler, child-friendly format.

“ ‘The Weather Story’ teaches about weather factually, but also lyrically and beautifully, in a way they can understand,” Arnold said.

She said the feedback from her first book was immensely positive.

“I’ve even gotten pictures sent to me of kids dressed up as Frances Fox for Halloween” or school spirit days when they dress up as their favorite book characters, she said. “It’s very gratifying to see daily the impact of what I’m doing and the difference it makes.”

“The first book really resonated,” said Arnold’s publisher at Insurance Nerds, Nick Lamparelli. “It’s a marvelous children’s book.”

After receiving this feedback and seeing the direct impact of her work, Arnold is finalizing a second book, “The Hurricane Story.” It is set to be released on June 1, the beginning of hurricane season. This story will cover how water molecules form on the dust that blows off the Sahara Desert, storm surge and flooding and the realities of evacuating one’s home.

Arnold’s work prioritizes honest education without sugarcoating the real possibilities of weather events and providing directions for what to do when there is a natural disaster. This includes her children’s books.

“If children have a copy of ‘The Hurricane Story,’ I think it’s going to help set their expectations and understanding, make it a lot less scary when it actually happens and hopefully allow them to take warnings and precautions a little more seriously,” she said.

In all she does, Arnold’s mission is to educate others by translating the complex world in an easy-to-understand way, to provide clarity, overcome obstacles and make a positive impact on the community.

“I don’t want to be known in my community for anything other than being helpful,” she shared. “I think that’s my calling.”

To follow Arnold’s journey, she is on X (formerly Twitter) @wxcyrena, or visit her website, wxcyrena.com.