Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of the Beyond The Forecast!
Through our recent mini-series, we’ve met two members of Your Local Weather Authority so far: Chris Michaels and Delaney Wearden. This week, we’re talking to the Chief! Jeff Haniewich has been with WSLS since 2003 and has guided Southwest and Central Virginia through numerous storms over the years.
Jeff, the floor is yours.
Thanks, Justin! Growing up in Cleveland and going to countless Indians, Cavaliers, and Browns games, sports were always a huge part of my life. I couldn’t make my love of baseball my career... but I gave it the good ole college try! So onto my other love — weather!
Hurricane Hugo back in 1989 really sparked in interest in meteorology. My Mom and Dad let me stay home from school that late September day and watch live coverage and reports from the middle of that powerful hurricane. But once the amazement of these meteorologists being blown around by the strong winds and being pelted by the torrential, tropical rains wore off, I remember also being heartbroken seeing all the destruction left behind. I wanted to be in South Carolina doing anything I could do to help those whose lives were destroyed by this major hurricane.
Fast forward several years, I graduated from Elon College (now University) with a Communications and Spanish degree and a couple years later, I graduated from the University of North Carolina - Asheville with a degree in Atmospheric Science.
I always tell folks who are interested in getting into this job that practical, real-world experience is so important. And I was so fortunate to work with some of the best broadcast meteorologists around, having interned at stations in Raleigh, Greensboro and Myrtle Beach. I was first hired back in 2001 as the weekend meteorologist at WNCT in Greenville, NC. The very last thing I covered at my first gig was Hurricane Isabel in 2003 before I was transferred right here to WSLS. And have been here ever since.
This area is so incredibly special to me. I’ve never lived anywhere as long as I’ve lived here. This is where I met my wife, this is the birthplace of my precious little girl. This is home. Nothing is more important to me than my wife and daughter. They are my rocks. Family is everything to me. We are lucky to have most of our extended families living within an 8-hour drive.
I’ve been here now for about 17 years and while that experience is invaluable, this is a humbling job. Before I left the aforementioned WNCT to come here, I had a conversation with many National Weather Service meteorologists in eastern NC. I told them on speakerphone that I was headed to the Roanoke/Lynchburg market, at which point they all started laughing simultaneously. I didn’t get it why — were they laughing? Well, they told me I was going to one of the hardest places in the country to forecast. This is indeed a humbling job, but I would always put our forecast up against anyone else’s.
It is now my turn to work with some of the best meteorologists in the business. I am fortunate to have brilliant minds working alongside me in Chris, Delaney, and Justin. Thank you for watching and trusting Your Local Weather Authority.
Thanks, Jeff! He’s your guy on weeknights on 10 News, with his weathercasts shown at 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m. You will also catch him on Facebook Live from time to time, along with an occasional article for WSLS.com.
You can keep up with Jeff on Facebook and he can also be reached via email at email@example.com.
Switching gears to your forecast, it’s Memorial Day and the weather could not have panned out any better for the holiday! Rain is expected later on in the week, so I have an early look at what you can expect in our daily forecast article.
You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area, the New River Valley or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!
In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:
-- Justin McKee