Hi I’m Ross Hull, a meteorologist at Global News in Canada. I’ve been in the weather business for close to 15 years and I’ve been lucky enough to have lived across our diverse, weather-rich country while doing it.

Every week I forecast the weather for ten cities and cover major international weather stories. Basically, I’m the guy who gets to explain what the bomb in bomb cyclone means.

I take my job seriously, but sometimes I have to use my meteorological powers to let the people know that winter is coming.

You’d think Canadians would be used to the winter routine by now, but as soon as a major storms sets its sights on us, hysteria usually ensues. It’s my job to show the people what they can truly expect. A busted winter weather forecast can mean a lot of negative feedback (and I’m not talking about the meteorological process.)

You may also know me from my acting days— I was on Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Student Bodies— but I’ve always had a passion for broadcast meteorology, so I’m actually living the dream right now.

I’m here to answer your questions on meteorology, my media/acting career so far, and who the White Walkers are.

Proof: https://twitter.com/Ross_Hull/status/1071095802204848129

EDIT: Thanks for all the questions but I need to start working on today's forecast. I will pop in and answer a few more later.

You can follow my forecasts and work on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

EDIT: It's been great and thanks for all your questions but time to declare this AMA closed.

Comments: 200 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

safnsnd61 karma

If you were planning an event out doors, at what day ahead of the event would you trust your forecast?

globalnewsca61 karma

Great question! Even though long range prediction is improving - I'm the most confident in my forecasts up to around 72 hours out (~3 days). When it comes to a longer range then I trust trends that I am seeing - say a colder or warmer air mass will move in or a stormy pattern (potential for heavy snow/rain) but pinpointing the exact timing and precip. of a storm that far out is still a challenge.

Lampburglar52 karma

So, the question we are all wondering is, are you afraid of the dark?

EDIT: Also, will we ever see a reunion Season?

globalnewsca44 karma

As to the reunion...there will be an Are You Afraid of the Dark movie coming out next Halloween but haven't been approached by the filmmakers yet. I've had some other people approach me about trying to get the original cast together again but nothing concrete. I guess it will depend on how much the fans want Gary and the campfire kids? (Adults!) back...

globalnewsca21 karma

I actually love the dark! I'm very sensitive to light so often need total darkness to fall asleep. I also like watching my favourite horror movies in as dark an environment as possible - so bring it on!

globalnewsca4 karma

There was a mini AYAOTD Reunion

9O125y27 karma

I have three questions for you, Ross;

  1. Would you go back to acting in the adult world, or do you just really enjoy being a meteorologist?
  2. This is cheesy, but it’s an AMA; do you like dancing? (random question)
  3. You’re probably getting asked this a lot, but how does it feel being undercover Gary? (You’re my favourite out of all of the Midnight Society, imho)

globalnewsca28 karma

  1. I have actually had a chance to do some acting here and there - it all depends on my Global schedule but I was able to do a role as a Galactic News Network anchor on Dark Matter (which was created by two of the writers from Student Bodies Joseph Malozzi and Paul Mullie). Yes, still open to it for sure but my main focus is meteorology.
  2. Yes, especially in the middle of a snow storm - sounds flaky I know but I love it ;)
  3. I'm always surprised that people still recognize me from AYAOTD - it was such a long time ago but at the same time I sort of take it as a compliment that I'm still recognizable this many years later!

danmalo8225 karma

Any planned collaborations with fellow Canadian weather-man, Frankie MacDonald?

globalnewsca19 karma

I've never had the honour of meeting Frankie but would definitely be up for some form of collaboration with him. Big fan!

Woofcat24 karma

Did you prefer working on Are you Afraid of the Dark, or Student Bodies?

Two great timeless Canadian Classics.

globalnewsca24 karma

That's a tough question - I would have to say Student Bodies. Don't get me wrong Are You Afraid of the Dark was an amazing experience and I'm very proud of that show and its legacy (I owe a lot to one of the creators of that show DJ MacHale). But I feel like by the time I got to Student Bodies I was older (~21) and better able to enjoy the experience. My character was also in each entire episode so as an actor there was a little more to work with.

suaveitguy18 karma

On a scale of 1-10, how horrified are you by the threat that climate change presents? The recent UN report that human extinction is on the table for the next generation or two is a nightmare.

globalnewsca15 karma

I would say a 7. I believe that human activity has played a role in warming our planet and I too am concerned about that - it's the event attribution that is more of a challenge. Attributing a particular hurricane or storm to anthropogenic climate change can be difficult from a scientific point of view however some research has managed to do so but many years after the event. Unfortunately, with our need for information/answers immediately on a particular weather event that research afterwards isn't always as widely publicized.

Anonymous197618 karma

In your experience, which are more reliable?

  1. Temperature predictions
  2. Precipitation predictions
  3. Extreme event predictions

globalnewsca17 karma

Temperature predictions hands down. Precipitation (especially precipitation type during the winter) and extreme weather events (hurricanes, ice storms, tornadoes) all involve the micro and macro of the science and thus leave more room for error. Although I have to add a forecaster in Calgary with a Chinook looming would probably disagree!

alexredekop17 karma

Couldn't we describe wind direction by the direction that it is going, rather than the direction that it is coming from? Seems more intuitive to read it that way.

And do you and your weather colleagues try and keep track of who is more accurate than who?

globalnewsca22 karma

I love this question and I know this often confuses people and can seem counter-intuitive. I think it also comes down to how we look at weather systems - in North America we often look upstream (to the west) as our weather systems often move from west to east. So in my mind, when one describes a westerly wind (moving from west to east as you know) there's a quality to that air that you can automatically attribute something too. Same deal with a southerly wind - we know (it can often mean) warmer weather because of its origin. That's how I wrap my head around it. And yes, we do sometimes make bets on who will get the forecast right...I often win ;)

RomeoDeltaKilo14 karma

What is the single most memorable weather event you have ever reported?

globalnewsca19 karma

The most single memorable event that I reported on was the December 2013 ice storm in Toronto. Not only was it a very impressive/dangerous amount of ice but there were other facets to that story too - the ensuing cold when so many were without power, the ice falling of of power lines and structures threatening people below, and the fact that it happened right around the holidays when so many families come together. As devastating as it was - I was also inspired to see communities come together and help each other out during that crisis.

PureEvilVirgin11 karma

Hi, Ross! I hope you are having a great day! Thank you so much for doing this.

I have heard meteorologists talk about a European weather model and an American weather model. Is there really not a Canadian weather model? If not, why not?

-Amanda B

globalnewsca6 karma

Great question! When we refer to the European model we are talking about the ECMWF and yes there is a Canadian model too - it's called the RGEM (Global Environment Multiscale). All these models have their biases at different times but the Euro tends to perform better in certain weather situations so that's why we often use it as an example.

suaveitguy10 karma

Who is the Einstein or Shakespeare of meteorology?

globalnewsca6 karma

We owe a lot to Vilhelm Frimann Koren Bjerknes - he helped to develop thermodynamics and helped us to figure out what makes the atmosphere tick and the science that goes into the weather models we use today. Satellite imagery was also a very important breakthrough for our science so we owe a lot to the many people who helped develop that technology.

FattyDD10 karma

Ross -- I interviewed you in late 2010 for a college radio piece about positive popular media for kids, and how AYAOTD and Student Bodies provided great content for children who were more critical of their programming. You worked in London at the time, and I'm so happy to see your career has progressed! You were very giving of your time, and your answers were wonderful!

Not sure if you have a family or kids, but I'm curious to know if your role in such acclaimed fictional works has made you more critical of children's programming today? Or perhaps your exposure to such great works influences how you communicate the weather.

Wishing you the best, Ross!

globalnewsca4 karma

Thanks for the question! I don't think it's made me more critical but perhaps more aware of how different children's programming is today and how a show like AYAOTD would likely never make it to air/stream in 2018 - I know the producer's did have some challenges back in the day convincing a network to broadcast a show aimed at scaring kids but I think that would be an insurmountable hurdle today. The content environment is also much more fractured - so we have less of that communal viewing experience today but there are still some shows that are managing to overcome that.

suaveitguy10 karma

How far does wind travel? If it rustled some wildflowers in Newfoundland at noon, how far could it be by midnight?

globalnewsca10 karma

Great question! You certainly picked one of the spots that it could travel the farthest if the right conditions existed - as I'm sure you know it can get a wee bit windy at times in NL. But to fully answer that question we would also need to know what's happening in the upper levels of the atmosphere - do we have sinking air or rising air aloft etc. Rising air (low pressure) would help to propel those rustled wildflowers farther. But to give you one example of the power of wind and how far things can travel because of it - often times birds from entirely different geographic areas are found trapped in the eye of hurricanes and travel hundreds of kilometers because of it.

CoverYourSafeHand9 karma

Why is meteorology the study of weather and not the study of meteors?

globalnewsca13 karma

Also why not meaty-orologist?

Onaimlos8 karma

What's your favorite cold weather beverage?

globalnewsca4 karma

A white hot chocolate

jderm7 karma

Hi, Ross.

What has changed the most about meteorology over your career, in your experience?

globalnewsca5 karma

I would say the emphasis on social media - not only as part of being a broadcast meteorologist but also how it allows us to keep track of weather in places that we once only had scarce access to visually. We can now confirm a tornado signature we are seeing on radar with video someone posts from a smartphone - it's become an important part of nowcasting for sure.

TinyEngineer6 karma

Hey Ross - one question for you - how much actual forecasting is done today by meteorologists working at news stations etc. vs relying on what environment Canada and other giant agencies are putting out?

globalnewsca15 karma

I think it depends on the expertise of the person. One of the reasons why I went to school to become a meteorologist was because I wanted to have the ability to do my own forecasting. I just wouldn't feel right standing up there and talking about something (sometimes 5 minutes or longer) without having done the work myself. Sure, we use EC as a guide and share their watches/warnings when they issue them but I feel that my experience and knowledge can enhance the forecasts I deliver on our various platforms at Global News.

LenticularLove3 karma

What schooling did you complete?

globalnewsca6 karma

The Broadcast Meteorology Program at Mississippi State University

CarlCarbonite6 karma

Does anyone ever mess with the screen behind you just for laughs?

globalnewsca4 karma

Yes, I've been working in front of a green screen/key wall for years now and it never fails - put a green cloak on someone to make it look like they are a floating head and it's still funny! Halloween is usually the time when we get to have a bit more fun with it.

spocknambulist6 karma

At what point did you realize that being a meteorologist would be a better career than being an actor?

globalnewsca9 karma

I'm not sure if one has been better than the other but there came a point when I was ready for a new challenge - being an actor can be a difficult lifestyle and I felt like focusing on something else for a while. As a kid it was my dream to be a broadcaster so I feel very thankful that close to fifteen years later I'm doing what I love.

lostinstjohns5 karma

Who would win in a fight: You or Mark Madryga?

globalnewsca9 karma

Hmm...well Mark could throw some powerful Aleutian Lows my way but I could counter with some potent Colorado Lows - let's call it a draw!

tomun5 karma

Do you have any Emus in your family?

globalnewsca6 karma

Not that I'm aware of but do these count?

karimrakie5 karma

Which 6 provinces do you forecast? Also which has in average the coldest weather?

globalnewsca7 karma

I forecast for Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. On average I would say Manitoba has the coldest weather - namely because of its distance from the Pacific and it's proximity when it comes to Arctic oubreaks from the north. Saskatchewan can be cold as well but it benefits from Pacific air more often (especially southwestern portions of the province).

suaveitguy5 karma

What makes a great Broadcaster? Who are the greats in your opinion, what have you consciously tried to emulate from them?

globalnewsca5 karma

I would say Peter Jennings (I also liked the fact that he was Canadian), Barbara Frum, Anderson Cooper, Peter Mansbridge, Tom Skilling, Chad Myers, David Letterman...it's a varied and pretty long list and I could go on. I think the most difficult adjustment I had to make when I transitioned from acting to broadcasting was being myself. I was used to having a scipt/character to lean on. In broadcasting (especially weather) it's all you and the science - there's no script so I always look up to people who can be themselves on air but also be informative/funny.

negroiso4 karma

Ross!

How are you, how’s your Monday, how’s the fur babies?

I’ll keep it simple.

IMDB credits you at 68 episodes of AYAOTD, each DVD episode rings in at about 900-1500mb so you could say you take up around 70GB of data from your early career.

  1. Where can I find Iron Eagle IV?

  2. Is there anything from the show you kept?

  3. Do you ever go back and watch episodes you’re not in and think what amazing fashion we had in the 90’s?

  4. Come down to Oklahoma and have your hand at some meteorology down round these parts and let me know if it’s more or less engaging.

  5. Cumulonimbus is the only meteorological thing from grammar school I remember.

  6. I forgot questions by this point and just started making lists.

  7. Will you record a video for the end of this AMA saying you “declare this meeting of the midnight society closed”

I love that /u/globalnewsca casually mentions AYAOTD.

globalnewsca2 karma

  1. Somewhere in the stratosphere?
  2. Yes, my parent's basement is filled with stuff I've kept and they keep threatening to have a garage sale
  3. I don't know if amazing is the first word that comes to mind
  4. I would use amazing to describe your local meteorologists - always live stream when I can to watch tornado coverage
  5. I love that word
  6. I'm noticing this list is going on a bit :)
  7. The AMA already ended officially but I will work on that! If not this time the next time around for sure!

occidental_oriental4 karma

White Christmas in Vancouver: No or Yes?

globalnewsca5 karma

No.

mbrookbank3 karma

Computer modeling, global sensors, satellite technology, and the science of understanding the weather have vastly improved in the past 20 years. However, extreme weather events driven by climate change have increased unpredictability and blown weather models. Which side is winning?

globalnewsca1 karma

I believe we're in a far better position now than 20 years ago to track storms - even if storms are more "extreme" our ability to forecast their intensity and where they're headed has improved. Climate models, however, are still not where we need them to be for longer range seasonal forecasts. The atmosphere always wins - we need to sharpen our ability to understand/predict its next move before it even knows it.

thegeekinblack2 karma

OK, one major question: i heard rumours of a student bodies reunion thingy, was there any weight to that or not?

globalnewsca2 karma

Here's the cast of Student Bodies reuniting after 20 years on the set of ET Canada

hiddenhugels2 karma

globalnewsca1 karma

Jordan is a great guy and very funny! We did the same meteorology program together. Those would be be big daisy dukes to fill!

roamingbolivianrn2 karma

As a meteorologist, you are expected to be right 100% of the time (we take your accuracy for granted imho). And when you're wrong, we lose our shit.

Have you ever gotten serious threats or hate mail due to an an inaccurate weather prediction?

globalnewsca1 karma

Never any serious threats but let's just say some people are very "passionate" about the weather and they like to vocalize this enthusiasm very loudly and repeatedly. I consider it part of the job responsibility.

MrsValentine862 karma

Hi Ross, were there any off-screen romances between cast members on Student Bodies?

globalnewsca1 karma

I don't kiss and tell :)

Edman701 karma

So, are you Canadian Jim Cantore?

globalnewsca1 karma

Yes please