It’s been 3 years now since my last television appearance as a weather forecaster. There are a lot of adjustments that have been needed to realign myself with the world now that my deadlines aren’t measured in seconds.
Originally, my career goals were to use my degree in meteorology to become a severe weather researcher and severe weather forecaster. After paying my own way through college by working at a number of jobs (which included; used car clean up technician, elementary school P.E. teacher, liquor store clerk, mandolin player in a Bluegrass band) my finances were more than exhausted and the additional schooling I needed to become a climate/meteorology researcher was simply too expensive.
I got a part-time job at the local CBS TV station in Lincoln, NE as the Saturday night 6:00 & 10:00 pm weathercaster. The pay was $13.25 per show, making my total pay for a night $26.50. During the week I worked as a retail sales clerk, office cleaner, and carpet cleaning tech. It took 10 months of recording and playing back shows to find one that was good enough to send out to other TV stations to try to get a full time job.
Once in the media realm I moved around; Lincoln, NE, St. Joseph, MO, La Crosse, WI, Decatur, IL, and finally Denver, CO. Fortunately for me in 1995 I was asked to do weather research surrounding the conditions around a hot air balloon accident that had occurred in the Aspen, CO area. This was my first assignment as a consulting forensic meteorologist and I found it to be extremely interesting and rewarding.
I then began occasionally working with attorneys, insurance companies, and adjusters on various types of civil lawsuits. While the “slip and fall” premises liability case is by far the most common, I have worked on weather-related auto accidents, wind damage, hail damage, aviation accidents and incidents, wind-related personal injury, and other less common types of cases.
The rewarding part of weather consulting is knowing that you are making a tangible difference for someone in a specific event. Unlike TV where sometimes you’d want to tap on the camera lens and say “hi, is anyone there?”.