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School teacher wins ABC-7 First Freeze Contest

By Krystal Klei, Reporter
Published On: Nov 21 2012 06:43:53 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 17 2014 12:56:01 AM CDT

StormTRACK Meteorologist Krystal Klei reports

EL PASO, Texas -

The first freeze of the season has come and gone, and with it, the ABC-7 First Freeze Contest.

So who won the contest?

A Las Cruces Hillrise Elementary School fourth grade teacher by the name of Gordon "Ken" Strawn.

The contest asked viewers to give ABC-7 their best forecast for the first freeze of the season in El Paso, down to the minute.

Viewers were allowed to send one forecast a day for the entirety of the contest, but Strawn only made one guess.

Ken said his secret tool is his background in aviation.

"i've been a pilot quite a while," he said. "Being a pilot they always teach you that you can kind of forecast the weather about every thirty minutes. So I always check the weather. So, I think it's kind of made me aware of what the weather is doing."

Strawn was one of 159 submissions to the contest.

Even more impressive, his forecast was within one minute of the actual freeze time.

The first freeze of the season recorded at the El Paso International Airport hit at 5:23 a.m. on November 12.

"That was really surprising" Strawn said. To get the exact day is hard enough. To get within the minute or even within the hour is almost impossible."

Strawn teaches his students weather as well.

"We see the fronts coming through, and we were able to predict the weather pattern and if it's going to be windy, or cloudy, or precipitation," Strawn said. "So lots of times we're pretty much right."

Next year, he said he is considering having the students help out in the forecasting process.

A method he believes may help him maintain the title.

"I'm going to try and do it again next year."

As part of the prize for winning, Strawn received $250 worth of gift cards to local restaurants.

He said he has already enjoyed one steak dinner with his wife, and is excited for more in the future.

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