What do Meteorologists Really do?

The phrase — ‘you get paid to be wrong’ — is probably the most common . saying a meteorologist hears. And that is unfortunate because meteorologists do a lot of work throughout the day and are extremely knowledgeable in what they do. And a meteorologist loves what they do and they do it to help you out.

This already got a little sidetracked, but a meteorologist works around the clock to give you the best forecast. The weather can change very quickly, but that’s what makes a meteorologist good at what they do. We react to a forecast.

A meteorologist can often tell when their forecast is going to bust. (Like the actual air temperature is going to be much warmer than forecasted). But as soon as the forecast doesn’t go as planned a meteorologist will likely sit down and forecast a whole new forecast.

Making our job 24/7/365.

Can I be honest with you?

Being a meteorologist isn’t just looking at models at work… we look at them at home too and are always paying close attention to the weather.

Now you’re probably asking… what does a meteorologist they do in their spare time, or what is their typical daily routine?

Well, let’s visit mine.

A Meteorologist’s Daily Routine

On the earliest of days I will wake up at 2 or 3 am (set with multiple alarms to wake up) and make a cup of coffee. This will perk while I’m getting ready (yes, I do my own hair and make up) and I typically take about an hour to get ready.

Alarm clocks are set to wake up at 2 am.
Alarm clocks are set.

After hair and makeup I decide on the dress that I’ll be wearing for the day then head out of the door (not forgetting my coffee of course). Luckily, my commute to work is short, only 8 minutes long. I walk into the TV station and start forecasting immediately.

Forecasting will take about 40 minutes to get a thorough forecast with the 7-outlook, rain/snow chances, high and low temperatures, and anything else you’ll need to know about today’s weather. I’ll write up a weather discussion and put this on the web including the apps and do a few radio hits that will be played out throughout the day.

This typically brings me to 30 minutes before showtime. And this is where I start building the weather graphics that will be shown on local TV. Now it’s showtime for about 1 or 2 hours (depending on the day).

Broadcast meteorologist in Bismarck, ND

Once the broadcast is complete. It’s time for breakfast. I try to eat healthy like peanuts or an apple, but most days it consists of another cup of coffee.

Now, I’m more than halfway through the work day and a work meeting or two and it’s time to look at how the forecast is doing so far. I’ll look at new information that has come in and change anything that needs to reforecasted or tweaked on my graphics. It’s now time to do one last broadcast.

If all of my work is complete, I’m able to leave finish my shift at 1pm.

Then it’s time for the gym. I’ll run 3 miles on the treadmill and lift a few weights… bringing me to a 1.5 hour workout in total. The time is now 3pm or so.

Now is the time to run a few errands and this is the time to do so. Grocery shop, clean the car, get an oil change. By the time 5 pm arrives, it’s time for dinner.

I love to cook, but sometimes there isn’t time to cook a 3-course meal. So I do meal prepping during the weekend to get ahead of schedule. Therefore, I pop some food in the microwave and it’s perfect.

I am a big culprit of eating in front of the TV, so I do that for about an hour.

Now it’s 6 pm, and it’s time to get ready for bed and go to sleep. Yes, at 6 pm. This is to assure I get the standard 8 hours of sleep a night.

Now, I wake up early again. Repeat.

This schedule does change:

This schedule is consistent, but when severe weather is expected or something out of the ordinary, my schedule changes. I’ll pay attention to the forecast more and focus on the radar to see if storms are developing. If so, I will remain on call for the other meteorologist (who does the evening broadcasts) and continue to track the weather forecast.

This means a meteorologist will work around the clock when severe weather is set to arrive in their forecast area. This can mean being glued to weather models and the weather observations all day long. For me, it means I will pay attention to the weather rather than a good workout at the gym.

But that also means I love what I do, even though sometimes it does mean getting little to no sleep on some days.

Regardless, this job is well worth it and I love what I do.

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