I’m currently answering all your questions. Read more about it here.
From Jon comes: “Here at the Dallas/Ft. Worth TX station I work at our Weather guessers have been accused of being Weather Nazis when any rain starts to fall. They take over and viewers miss their programs. Do you ever get comments like that?”
Jon – I assume we break in a lot less than they do in Texas because we have a lot less ‘short fuse’ weather like tornadoes. There have been some complaints when we’ve gone wall-to-wall but we only do that when there’s a tornado warning–rare here. Our prime time for severe weather is late afternoon so we’re less likely to be blowing out people’s favorite shows.
If you ask our producers they’ll tell you I most often ask them to tone down not hype up coverage. Not always, but mostly.
Ken is wondering, “How much of the work do the on-air personalities do when determining the weather? Is it a job where you filter the analysis from a Weather center (or techies)… or are you doing the leg work yourself? I’ve always been curious about that.
Yes Ken. I was chosen for my shapely gams!
No, actually our four main weather people are meteorologists. One has a PhD in physics. Another was trained by the Marines.
Dr. Mel, our PhD, knows more about weather history than any three people I know. He learned to forecast before computers did most of the heavy lifting. It boggles the mind.
When I first met Gil I was looking down my nose at USMC meteo training. I could not have been more wrong! The coursework he took and the practical experience he gained was second to none. He is among the finest, best trained forecasters I’ve ever met and I don’t throw that compliment lightly.
When I started on-the-air as a ‘weatherman’ I didn’t have a clue! I quickly realized I’d better learn what I was talking about. I did a lot of studying before finally going back and getting certified at Mississippi State University. I was awarded a certificate for academic excellence and finished with a 3.97 GPA. I have the AMS Seal. I also have seven Emmys, though that’s a performance and not accuracy based award.
Jonathon is pushing back a little. “It is my understanding there is only one sky. So why do you weather people say “skies will be cloudy”?
Jonathon, “Home on the Range” influence, plain and simple.
A nearly seasonably topical question from Paula. “Thank you so much for a chance to ask you questions. If you had the chance to fly through a hurricane again, would you? Which one of the adventures that you went on years ago was your favorite?”
In a heartbeat Paula! I’ve done it twice. It’s less scary than you might think. I actually wrote about that trip for my blog and it’s still available–just a click away.
My scariest adventure was flying in an F/A18 with the Blue Angels. We took off nearly vertically, flew upside down and in ever tightening inside turns. All of it was done while sitting on an explosive charge in the ejection seat!
I didn’t lose my lunch.
Craig wants my job… or one like it! “Are there any online schooling you can take to become a meteorologist? Can you reccomend anything for someone possibly interested in shifting career paths. I would like to work for the NWS. Thanks”
My MSU coursework was all online. It’s a lot harder to do it that way than in a classroom. You need a great deal of discipline and motivation. The MSU course isn’t calculus based (which no meteorologist uses in daily forecasting) and is not an accepted course to work for NWS.
The Agriculture Department used to have a distance learning course which was thorough and very difficult. I haven’t heard of it in years.
Job prospects in meteorology are very poor. NWS has fewer employees and TV stations are cutting back where they can.