Hello Reddit!

I'm Alan Sealls, the longtime Chief Meteorologist at WKRG-TV in Mobile, Alabama who woke up one day and was being called the "Best Weatherman Ever" by so many of you on Reddit.

How bizarre this all has been, but also so rewarding! I went from educating folks in our viewing area to now talking about weather with millions across the internet. Did I mention this has been bizarre?

A few links to share here:

Please help us help the victims of this year's hurricane season: https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/nexstar-pub

And you can find my forecasts and weather videos on my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WKRG.Alan.Sealls/

Here is my proof

And lastly, thanks to the /u/WashingtonPost for the help arranging this!

Alright, quick before another hurricane pops up, ask me anything!

[EDIT: We are talking about this Reddit AMA right now on WKRG Facebook Live too! https://www.facebook.com/WKRG.News.5/videos/10155738783297500/]

[EDIT #2 (3:51 pm Central time): THANKS everyone for the great questions and discussion. I've got to get back to my TV duties. Enjoy the weather!]

Comments: 4254 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

helpontheway77544 karma

Ever since your morning of fame, what impact has it had on your route to work every day? Any new perspectives? Thanks!

WKRG_AlanSealls13427 karma

Not a lot different. I drive an average car so most people don't notice me but last night, one lady at a stop light rolled down her window to ask me questions.

MattBaster7308 karma

Which reaction from your studio was your favorite after your video went viral on the internet?

WKRG_AlanSealls10910 karma

They gave me a trophy but someone also printed a T-Shirt with me on it!

MattBaster745 karma

That is awesome! Any pics of you wearing that shirt that you could share with your adoring public?

BTW, big congrats on all of the positive attention you're received! :-D

WKRG_AlanSealls1475 karma

It would be a little creepy to me to wear a shirt with myself on it!

KennyFulgencio162 karma

What studio reactions are you referring to, I want to see 'em

MattBaster229 karma

Not necessarily in video format, but in general (aside from the trophy), have there been any practical jokes or new nicknames that you've earned?

WKRG_AlanSealls627 karma

Not that I know of... yet

eastriverdriveII5637 karma

when does your day start and end? Are you at the station for 12+ hours a day?

WKRG_AlanSealls8982 karma

Sometimes it feels like 12+ hours. I work 8 hours a day on paper but my work starts at home before I get to work and it ends at home after work. When weather is active, I easily work 10-11 hours at work.

nice_usermeme3048 karma

What things other than presenting does your job entail? I thought TV meteorologist was just in-and-out kind of job

WKRG_AlanSealls6923 karma

Aside from TV, we have radio and Facebook. As a chief I coordinate all operations of the weather department- scheduling, computer maintenance and updates and purchasing, graphics, training, while working with our sales and promotions and news departments. Then we all have community outreach. I do actually forecast the weather so I'm always trying to study to get the latest.

Rreptillian2469 karma

So, if I understand correctly are you actually interpreting raw data to make your own forecast? Or are you presenting a forecast which is made by either computer simulations or a trained analyst? If it is the latter case, are you managing said software and/or analysts or is that an external service which you share with other weather services?

WKRG_AlanSealls6370 karma

Good question- I make my own forecast from plotted upper air charts, wind profiles, satellite and radar depictions and then computer model forecasts and numerical output. We share it within WKRG but not outside of the station. I'm trained as all government meteorologists are. I make my own forecast because that makes me comfortable with what I'm saying. It is, however, rarely that far different from what the National Weather Service would say for my area.

cerrophym663 karma

Wow! That sounds like a lot of work. Do you have time to rehearse what you're going to say before a live broadcast?

You don't just 'give' the weather forecast but 'explain' what's going on. Everything is very clear and very informative so I assume you must practice.

WKRG_AlanSealls1818 karma

No, and that's the fun part for me. Weather is constantly changing so it makes no sense to plan for something specific when it can change in mid-sentence.

Cuchulane5487 karma

What do you think of the practice of making weather reporters stand outside in storms?

WKRG_AlanSealls10056 karma

There's a line between when it is helpful to the viewer and when it is plain dangerous.

TheDirtyWeatherMan2571 karma

I'm not in the broadcast part of the career field, nor am I Mr. Sealls, but watching them stand out there in storms just makes me shake my head. Is it interesting? Sure. But is it necessary to people's understanding that hurricane = windy danger cloud? No.

I watched one of them during Irma who was reporting live say something like "I'm just going to step in here (a sheltered area) where it's less windy and a bit safer." Then 30 seconds later when they cut back to him, he's back out standing in the wind. The look on his face said "My asshole producer just ordered me to go stand back out here, despite it being completely unnecessary."

WKRG_AlanSealls3894 karma

Definitely send your feedback directly to that reporter and the station/network they work for. It does carry some weight.

Odnetnin905394 karma

Do you have any #1 dad mugs in your kitchen?

WKRG_AlanSealls6716 karma

A couple!

_Ouch_2893 karma

Do you have a couple of mugs from a couple of kids, or a couple of mugs from one very reassuring kid?

WKRG_AlanSealls4743 karma

Most of my mugs come from schools that I visit.

Rutgers_EQ_Kimball2138 karma

So you're not a dad but have 2 #1 dad mugs?

WKRG_AlanSealls6136 karma

Yes. I'm an uncle, and backup Dad to many!

Arialene5098 karma

What is commonly misunderstood by the general public about meteorology that you want to correct?

WKRG_AlanSealls8526 karma

People expect precision in a forecast that just does not exist, while they look at pixels on smartphones. We know a lot about weather but not everything. Rain chances are also misinterpreted but they are also used differently around the country and world. A low rain chance does not mean that it won't rain, and a high rain chance doesn't guarantee that you'll get a lot of rain. I use rain coverage rather than chance since my region gets rain on almost every summer day.

Fufuplatters3076 karma

A good example of this happened some years ago here in Hawaii, where there was a storm that predicted to be pretty bad the next day. Bad enough where schools island-wide had to he canceled for the day (we never get school cancelations here). That next day turned out to be sunshine and rainbows. A lot of memes about our local meteorologist were born that day.

WKRG_AlanSealls3761 karma

Yes, those are professional nightmares. One of the unique things about my job is even when I am 99% certain, there's that 1% chance that things go sideways.

poptart2nd305 karma

Can you please explain what rain coverage is and how it differs from chance of precipitation?

BugMan717976 karma

Just a guess but I'm thinking of it like, a chance of rain percentage is what chance rain will fall in a region. Coverage is how much of the region will get rain. So in an area with daily rain it's pointless to state there is 100% chance of rain anywhere that day cause it always is. It's better to inform how much of that area will get rain.

WKRG_AlanSealls949 karma

Yes, exactly.

WKRG_AlanSealls259 karma

see BugMan717's answer below

shekdown2883 karma

Have you considered starting your own YouTube channel to explain the same for big weather events globally?

WKRG_AlanSealls4774 karma

Not now. Since I work for a TV station full-time. I wouldn't have the time or energy to do that!

jmariemp2669 karma

If you weren't a weather man, what career would you have and why?

WKRG_AlanSealls5450 karma

Second career choice would be as an educator. Third career choice was a musician!

96firephoenix2109 karma

Your now-famous weather cast was highly educational, so you're kinda doing your first and second ones.

WKRG_AlanSealls4878 karma

Yes, and the fact that I present weather without a script is the same as an adlib music soloist.

Odnetnin901013 karma

Can you play any musical instrument?

WKRG_AlanSealls2509 karma

I played trumpet as a kid but gave it up in college. It was fun but I never was much good at it!

GusTheGolden999 karma

Would you consider combining meteorology with education and becoming a weather science communicator and science advocate a la Bill Nye or Neil Degrasse Tyson?

Edit: I'll admit Bill isn't the best example but I was a fan of his show in the 90s. However, I will add Emily Graslie !

WKRG_AlanSealls2804 karma

Not a goal but you never know...

lightly-sauteed-peas280 karma

What about a music teacher?

WKRG_AlanSealls1594 karma

Maybe. All kids need a good balance of the arts and sciences.

PatWestonisDumb543 karma

You're my hero for saying this.

WKRG_AlanSealls982 karma

It's really true. Start them off right and we all do better in the long-run.

shylowheniwasyoung88 karma

Sing us a tune on the live cam :)

WKRG_AlanSealls710 karma


lazy_eye_of_sauron212 karma

Play us a song, you're the weatherman!

Play us a song toniiiiight!

We're all in the mood for a melody!

And the weather out here is alright!

WKRG_AlanSealls90 karma

Billy Joel wouldn't like that

Dadalot2330 karma

Do you know Pete Delkus? You're the Best Weatherman Ever, I think he would make a great Vice Best Wetherman Ever.

WKRG_AlanSealls3719 karma

Yes I know Pete. The meteorology community is relatively small.

tatorface549 karma

Fellow Dallas-ite, I see :) Pete loves going jacket-off.

WKRG_AlanSealls1071 karma

For me, it's a practical thing. We move around a lot between segments, and sometimgs I literally dash outside or across the building during the news.

PalebloodSky2070 karma

Given your expertise in meteorology, can we ever have a Sharknado?

WKRG_AlanSealls4071 karma

Ha ha. Tornadoes have moved over water to pick up little things like frogs and little fish. Theoretically it's possible in a very small area if a high-end tornado were to move over a shallow beach where a few sharks were hanging out, but I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

theo_sontag2048 karma

I grew up watching Tom Skilling on WGN, and always loved his detailed, non-sensationalized delivery of the weather. Are you guys best buds or mortal enemies?

WKRG_AlanSealls3250 karma

I worked at WGN from 1992 to 1997, with Tom. I only see him in person every few years. Based on the space between us we're not best buds but we are definitely not enemies! Mutual respect and admiration. Even here in Mobile, all of the weather broadcasters get along. We all have the same mission.

lzvmhv1818 karma

What is the longest stretch of time you've ever been on air / at work to cover a significant weather event, and what was the event?

WKRG_AlanSealls2977 karma

Both for Hurricane Ivan and Katrina, as a news station and weather department, we broadcast for over a week. Fortunately we had lots of breaks in our weather segments. During the landfalls of both of those storms I probably did a few 20 minute weather segments solo.

CNiblett1592 karma

How do you foresee the rest of hurricane season going? Namely for the Gulf Coast?

WKRG_AlanSealls3227 karma

I honestly don't look that far out. The ingredients for hurricanes change week by week so I only look about 10 days ahead at a time. In that time, I don't see any threats right now.

tyjet1512 karma

Hi Alan. You and the rest of the WKRG weather team are the reason why I prefer WKRG over the other stations in our viewing area. I'm glad the rest of the world now knows of and can appreciate the work that you and the rest of the team does.

Since you're internet famous now, what are the chances that you might make an appearance at a comic convention? If a convention like Pensacon reached out to have you as a guest, would you accept it? I'd love to sit in for a meteorology panel hosted by you. I think it would be a great experience.

WKRG_AlanSealls1890 karma

Thanks for the words. I regularly go to 2 weather conventions and 2 journalism conventions each year, and I get invited to many many more. If my station were to give me the time to do so, I would! Weather is universal so it applies to everything.

That_Cupcake660 karma

Hello, I'm a meteorology undergrad. Which weather conventions do you attend? Are they exclusively for meteorologists, or do they allow students to attend as well?

WKRG_AlanSealls1070 karma

All are open to anybody who pays to register! Students typically have a reduced rate. I go to National Weather Association (next week outside of Los Angeles), and then check American Meteorological Society (January in Austin). Both websites will link you to a lot of the regional and college conferences.

Arialene1299 karma

1.) What is a weather event/phenomena that you want to witness someday?

2.) What is the most memorable weather event that you have reported on?

3.) Pineapple on pizza? y/n

WKRG_AlanSealls3087 karma

I'd love to see a tornado (in the open plains where no one is at risk). I've seen funnels and waterspouts but never a tornado... in part because I go to work when there's a threat of one. Ivan and Katrina were both the most memorable events of my career. No pineapple. Just cheese.

readitorial1155 karma

Have you been doing the weather like this all the years but reddit only just found out?

I'm only asking a question because the rules state I have to ask a question. The real reason for writing is just to say you are absolutely fantastic. In the UK, legendary weathermen such as Michael Fish and Ian McGaskill were also hugely popular.

WKRG_AlanSealls1585 karma

Yes, I've pretty much had the same style for all 30 years of my careery. Thanks for the compliments.

EuphoricNeckbeard1090 karma

Would you rather fight 1 Irma-sized tornado or 100 tornado-sized Irmas?

WKRG_AlanSealls2676 karma

I'd run, either way

Bueller967928 karma

Who wins in a fight: an F5 tornado or a Cat 5 hurricane?

*EF5. Whatever. They sound the same except one refreshes and the other is Brock's finishing move. I get it.

WKRG_AlanSealls1600 karma

No doubt, the hurricane because it's just so large and long-lasting.

mybad4990871 karma

What made you want to be a weather forecaster and how did you go about becoming one?

WKRG_AlanSealls1907 karma

I grew up with just a simmering interest in weather. Things like how you could have hail from a summer thunderstorm, and lightning from a snowstorm. I was always a natural performer so I was able to link my love for weather with my talent for performing/teaching. I went to Cornell to get a BS in meteorology, and then to FSU to get a masters degree to make sure I really knew what I was talking about.

BillsMafia607660 karma

Ay Cornell! Did Ithaca's terrible weather help with your education in meteorology?

WKRG_AlanSealls1168 karma

Yes, there's nothing like first-hand experience. One winter break, it got so cold there that the pipes froze and burst causing problems to students' stuff.

daddyfatsax806 karma

War Eagle or Roll Tide??

WKRG_AlanSealls3889 karma

If I answered that, I'd lose half my viewers!

Goldwing18734 karma

Is there anything that you feel is most important to have/do in a broadcast? How have you refined your craft throughout your career?

WKRG_AlanSealls1644 karma

Most important is honesty and perspective. I try to sharpen my weather skills by going to conferences and my presentation skills by looking at what other non-weather presenters and performers do to hold their audience.

Mekneys690 karma

What was your reaction to being voted "Best Weatherman Ever" by so many people?

What made you want to become a Meteorologist?

Do you have any pets?

WKRG_AlanSealls1316 karma

Bizarre is my reaction! It's nice though, that people are happy and excited to learn something that makes them smarter and safer. I don't mind the publicity from a professional perspective. Personally, I'm perfectly happy without it.

Odnetnin90608 karma

Would you consider yourself the Bob Ross of meteorology?

WKRG_AlanSealls2146 karma

I just consider myself me!

inst565 karma

What are your thoughts on using confidence intervals with weather forecasts? Why aren't they used more?

WKRG_AlanSealls830 karma

Those are good. I think it's just taking the entire profession a while to embrace them, as we figure out how people interpret them.

jjconstantine538 karma

If TED reached out and asked you to give a talk, would you do it? What would you talk about?

WKRG_AlanSealls866 karma

Sure, that would be fun. It would be something weather-related

parkwaytrash49512 karma

Has anyone actually figured out what is going on during a jubilee? I've heard it's not enough oxygen in the water. I've also heard it's not enough oxygen in the water. I've heard it's dependent on the weather. What do you think?

WKRG_AlanSealls1042 karma

A jubilee is what we (in the Mobile Bay area) call a phenomenon where in a quiet weather pattern controlled by high pressure, a very light wind over a shallow bay or lake pushes the top layer of water away from the shore. That carries oxygen away from the shore leaving the fish and sea life weak, and disoriented, left to suffocate. People then go out in the water and gather up as much as they can!

johnsonstein17455 karma

Tornadoes can spawn quickly during a hurricane. Do these type of tornadoes tend to be less capable of being long track tornadoes, or does it just depend on the storm system?

Thanks for doing this! There is much love for you in Pensacola!

WKRG_AlanSealls498 karma

Just from the tornadoes we had here in Hurricane Ivan, they were not long track but it definitely would depend on the system. Thanks.

KennyFulgencio422 karma

What measures could coastal cities take to be better prepared for more frequent and damaging hurricanes going forward?

WKRG_AlanSealls697 karma

It takes a lot of thought and research into not only what extremes have happened in the past, but what could happen. For cities and families, you have to project how you will grow in the future and when you invest in your infrastructure, go for the long term, rather than short term. Even though it seems like it will cost more up front, you end up saving in the long run.

GFY_EH366 karma

What is a cool meteorological fact few know?

WKRG_AlanSealls1107 karma

There's really no new water on Earth. It just cycles and recycles through the ground, oceans, air, and our bodies.

TooShiftyForYou348 karma

Thanks for your great explanation of the hurricane, it was truly beneficial. What would you suggest as the best path for a young person interested in meteorology to obtain a job like yours?

WKRG_AlanSealls473 karma

Check out the resources from two organizations that I'm an officer of- American Meteorological Society National Weather Association They both have lots of career links.

Fouhr346 karma

If you had the honor to name a hurricane, what name would you give it?

WKRG_AlanSealls735 karma

That's a tough one. I wouldn't want to name it after a person since those storms can be pretty bad.

Iamoutasighttoo312 karma

This is a two part question.

What is your most defining moment in the meteorology field

And did you ever expect to get so much more love than even James Spann?!

WKRG_AlanSealls533 karma

Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan were defining moments. I know James. Good guy. There's more than enough love to share!

rv49er297 karma

  1. Is climate change causing hurricanes to cause more damage?
  2. Where is the evaporation compared to the rainfall in a hurricane?
  3. Why isn't there thunder and lightning in a hurricane?

WKRG_AlanSealls590 karma

The Earth is warming but before you consider that, consider that population density in front of hurricanes is so much larger, with people in the US that have more stuff, and bigger cities, so that even a medium hurricane will cause a lot of damage and headache. Evaporation and then condensation is what keeps building the clouds so it's around the hurricane, but also in the midst of it. Hurricanes tend to not have very cold air above them and that's part of what leads to differences of water droplets and ice crystals in regular thunderstorms. You're right they tend to not have a lot of lightning but they do have some, and the new satellites are showing it to us.

no_just_harry296 karma

What is a common misconception about your profession that you would like to address?

WKRG_AlanSealls830 karma

That we guess at the weather and are wrong half the time. People focus on the one forecast that didn't turn out the way they expected, where they live, but they take for granted the overwhelming times that forecasts are right on target (for an area, not their house).

everyperson285 karma

What's your favorite sandwich?

WKRG_AlanSealls668 karma

Probably BLT

I_KeepsItReal254 karma

How does it feel getting this amount of recognition over something you've been doing for so long? What is the best piece of advise you can offer to aspiring meteorologists or educators? We appreciate you recognizing this community and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!! May your future bear greater success.

WKRG_AlanSealls532 karma

Thanks. The attention is nice from the standpoint that my mission has always been to educate (and entertain some). I do this as a part time college professor too. My best advice is put yourself in the seat of your audience. Throwing facts at them is not teaching. Make it interactive and fun with energy and enthusiasm and real-life examples. Interactive on TV is answering the questions people want to know, not what you want them to know!

JennLen242 karma

Hi, Alan! During the coverage for Irma, lots of reporters/meteorologists were out in the midst of landfall, some struggling to stand and others tied to hotel balconies - at the same time telling viewers to take cover. What are your thoughts on reporting live in dangerous weather conditions?

WKRG_AlanSealls459 karma

I don't want to do it. There are safer ways to do it. On the other hand, people who are not in the path of the storms sometimes watch it for the spectacle.

techn9ne816212 karma

Do you ever talk to John ed thompson the old fox 10 weather guy. ?

WKRG_AlanSealls399 karma

I haven't seen John Ed in a while but we certainly talk when we are in the same room.

vrotographer165 karma

  1. Did you ever think anything like this would happen?

  2. How did your co-workers react?

  3. What are you planning to do with your new-found fame?

WKRG_AlanSealls380 karma

Never in my wildest dreams would I have anticipated this. My co-workers were really excited. I plan to keep on keeping on!

Arialene65 karma

What made you want to study meteorology? Was there a specific person or event that triggered your love of weather?

WKRG_AlanSealls159 karma

No one thing or person got me interested. When I was in high school I really thought through what I could do to always have a job and I came up with my fascination for weather, and ability to teach and perform. Since everyone needs weather information, that makes my career pretty good!

sangandongo14 karma

Hi Alan. Can you talk about why most news outlets don't discuss the potential effect of climate change on these storms? I understand that trends need to be analyzed, but we have a lot of evidence pointing toward the effect of warming on these storm events.

WKRG_AlanSealls33 karma

My best answer is that most of us focus on the immediate issue, more than whether it is part of a trend. I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I can say that no one storm can be attributed to climate change. Climate is a long term picture. Storms are controlled by the weather of the day.

LauraVi11 karma

During your career what have you noticed as being the biggest impact that global warming had on weather?

WKRG_AlanSealls25 karma

I focus forecast for southern Alabama, and even with a warming climate, and shiifting weather patterns, so far there's little I could point to and say that the changing climate caused it in my region. Global warming does cause change but we are just in the midst of trying to figure it all out.