Why I Became a TV Meteorologist
All My Time Spent Outdoors, Public Speaking and Education Has Led Me to a Career I Love
Friday, February 7th, 2014 — This past Wednesday, February 5th was “National Weather Person’s Day”. We celebrate on the 5th to commemorate the birth of John Jeffries on Feb 5th, 1744, one of America’s first weathermen. He started taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774 and he is credited for taking the first balloon observation in 1874. This day recognizes all meteorologists and weather forecasters, men and women, who observe, analyze and present the best weather, climate and water forecasts and severe weather warnings around the world. If you have not done it already this week, give your favorite weather person a hug! They deserve it!
This holiday got me thinking of how I got interested in and eventually chose a career in weather. Meteorology and being a TV weather caster is truly a career and a field I love. In today’s “Weather Talk” I will tell you how weather and public speaking influenced me growing up, a little about my educational path and how I have never stopped learning and growing in my weather career.
I was born and grew up in the beautiful, ever changing weather climate of Colorado. I started walking to school in first grade. I think it was only about five blocks or so, but it seemed like miles at that age! The trip seemed even longer on a blustery, snowy day when my mom had to bundle me up in many layers, with a snow coat, thick scarf, ear muffs, hat, wool socks and snow boots. I waddled down the road like Frankenstein! She put on two socks, a regular sock with a thick wool one over it. Then she put plastic bags over the wool sock with a rubber band around the bag over the ankle to hold each bag up. Then she put on my shoes, which barely fit, and tied them extra tight. Then we had to put hand cream or Vaseline around the rubber part of the tennis shoes so they could slip into the rubber boot. Then with some difficulty snap the buckles up the boot. Why do you ask did she do that? Even with all that when you were walking in deep snow you would put one foot in then the second and when you attempted to pull the boot up to take another step, the boot with your shoe would stay deep in the snow. Your next step would be with your plastic bag covered sock into the snow. The bag would keep your hopefully from getting wet, but not from getting freezing cold! Ah, weather memories! Despite going through that walking to school ordeal, even through the first part of high school, I still fell in love with the snow covered ground, foot hills and mountains.
Colorado has very active monsoon season with very strong and quite often severe thunderstorms. I very often saw hail cover the ground like snow. Even saw a man whose wrist was broken by a big hailstone while running to his car to roll up is windows! On July 11th, 1990 There was a massive hailstorm that traveled from Estes Park, in the mountains through the Denver metro area to Colorado Springs, south of Denver in 3 hours! The cool air aloft allowed for continuous hail that caused over $600 million dollars in property damage! The roofer’s had non stop work for the next year! When I was very young, I stayed in a cabin in a town in the Big Thompson Canyon a few weeks before the devastating Big Thompson Flood. July 31st, 1976 A stationary storm dumped 10 to 12 inches of rain, 8 inches in less than 2 hours! This heavy rainfall created a wall of water that traveled down the Big Thompson Canyon through the Rocky Mountains, killing 139 people with over $30 million dollars in property damage. All the major thunderstorms, snowstorms and even the nice weather impacted and interested me growing up.
When I was in Junior high and high school I would take neighbor kids on hikes through the foothills near my house to see the wildlife. I would teach them the things I learned from the many hiking summer camps I attended. I would always pick a weekend when I knew the weather was not going to be a challenge.
I love to talk! My gift for talking can be attributed to his kindergarten teacher. During a timeout, he was given a Fisher-Price microphone and told to pretend he was on the radio. An hour later, he was still babbling away. I was in plays and musicals from grade school through high school. I gave tours of Golden Colorado and the world’s largest single site brewery as a Coors tour guide. I gave as many as 8 half hour tours a day through the brewery! I have always loved to tell stories to this day to anyone who will listen! I always think it is funny and ideal how I get paid to tell a weather story every weeknight on television. All my years of practice have paid off!
My mom has been a big influence on my interest in weather. She has always watched all the weather forecasts on every newscast she was able to see. Now that she has retired and she watches the weather morning, noon and night. My friends, who spend time at my parent’s house, say “no wonder you chose to be a TV Meteorologist, your mom is an expert!”
I attended the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo, Colorado, where I worked as a radio news anchor and personality his freshman year and won the Silver Mic Broadcasting Award for his work. I received a double emphasis in Broadcasting and Public Relations from what is now called Colorado State University-Pueblo.
I returned as a paid intern to the Adolph Coors Company and then as a consultant in tourism his senior year. At this point, I knew corporate communications was not a career path for me, so I went back to college to pursue a second degree in Meteorology from Metropolitan State College in downtown Denver, Colorado.
With a degree in hand, I was hired to work for KCBD, NBC in Lubbock, Texas, as a weekend meteorologist. I made more money as a Chili’s waiter which I had to do to pay the bills in my spare time.
A little over a year and a half later, on May 29, 1995, KTSM hired me as a weather anchor and it has been home ever since! I worked weekend and morning weather until 1999 when he was promoted to chief meteorologist.
I was the Ciudad Juarez Weather Service for two years just before, during and after the August 2006 Floods. I am also is used as a consultant for international emergency projects, speak at schools, judge chili cook offs and much more! I truly do find giving back to the community is one most rewarding experiences out there.
I guess I have started to outline my autobiography here! It just goes to show that everything you do in your life makes you the person you are now. All the talking, acting and public speaking I have done has truly made me a more natural speaker. I the time I spent hiking, fishing and skiing outdoors has given me a first hand appreciation of all types of weather. All my education has helped me inform and educate during my nightly weather forecasts or when I speak to schools.
I talked to parents by phone every night before I do my 10 P.M. broadcast. My mom and dad tell me the forecast , they have just heard from the Denver Television stations. Then my father reads me the forecast for El Paso from the Denver Post newspaper. I chuckle, but I really do appreciate their genuine interest, love and how proud they are of me. Most of all for their part they played in guiding me into the career I love, weather.