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Atmosphere Academy: What goes into a day

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We’ve often heard it said that you never truly know what it’s like to do a job until you do it. And that’s especially true for a broadcast meteorologist.

The first thing you have to know about television is that there is no “normal” work schedule. You either work really early in the morning, or really late at night – or sometimes both!

For Jerry, since he works on the first show of the day, Good Morning Carolina, his work day begins as early as 3:00 a.m. When he arrives at work, the first thing he does is generate a forecast. He analyzes the output from several computer models to get a handle on what the weather is going to be like.

Of course, computer models can look a little intimidating, so it’s important to simplify things for our viewers. We have 2 customized animation computers that allow us to generate easy to read graphics based on computer model data. We can draw fronts, high/low pressure systems, or we can get really creative and invent totally new designs to tell the weather story. Each meteorologist is responsible for designing his own look. When the graphics are completed, it’s time to go on the air.

A typical newscast runs between 1 and 2 hours, but there are many things to be done even after the newscast goes off. A meteorologist may visit area schools or civic groups, install upgrades or perform back-ups of the 10 computers that run our weather lab. And naturally, if you have severe weather, your work day can double in length quickly. That is why it is nice to have some back-up if you need it.

After all, if Jerry is in to work at 3:00 a.m., it means he has to be in the bed, asleep, by 6:00 p.m.; easier said than done.

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videoThe Atmosphere Academy is back in session. This time, it’s a question about what goes on in the wee hours of the morning here at WWAY. Meteorologist Jerry Jackson has more.

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