I thought I'd spin things in a different direction today, and get away from the "weather" side of things for a change. A lot of people have been asking me how I spend my typical hours at work...and even what those hours might be. Some of you might be a bit surprised!
My day begins at the bright and early hour of 12:00 midnight. I wake up and immediately stumble my way to the coffee maker which I have pre-set to have four cups already brewed! Once my coffee has been prepared, I sit down and begin the forecasting process.
The first step of the forecasting process is to carefully analyze the current state of the atmosphere...which means looking at things such as surface observations, radar/satellite, and data from weather balloons. A keen forecaster can gather a sense of how the weather is going to unfold over the next day or two simply based on the current state of things, without even looking at the forecast models. Once I have a general idea of how things are going to pan out, I begin sifting through the models to see if there are any that match my thoughts. Without getting into the nitty gritty details (that could be another post for another time)...I spent anywhere from 60-90 minutes working on the forecast before I get ready to head into the office!
I usually arrive at work sometime around 2:30AM. The first 30 minutes of my shift are spent firming up the forecast...especially the day 3-5 portion which relies heavily on computer models that are not available until at least 2AM. Once my forecast is complete I spend the next 60-90 minutes (from 3:00 until 4:00 or 4:30AM) producing graphics. Then it's crunch time!
The period between 4:00 and 5:00AM is my busiest time of day. The forecast, on air, and web graphics must be completed...a thorough web discussion must be written...a hard copy of the forecast must be faxed to several radio stations...a brief forecast must be entered into all the scripts for the 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, and 6:30 shows...and I must record several audio forecasts which are converted to MP3 files and emailed to the radio stations. Once that's done it's time for hair and makeup, and finally I must be on the set by 5:00. Lots to do in a very short period of time! And oh yeah...I make sure to keep a steady supply of caffeine flowing through my system!
Our show runs from 5:00 until 7:00AM. During that time I begin and conclude each half hour segment with a first and last check of the weather, and I deliver two 2:30 weather segments during the second and fourth blocks of each show. That means I recite the forecast on sixteen separate occasions during the entire two-hour period. And yes...it is exhausting! But the average viewer is only tuned in for about 20 minutes in the morning, so I have to keep telling myself that the audience is constantly changing. I like days when the weather is constantly changing as well!
After the show is over, I record two 30-second forecasts which air throughout the CBS "Early Show"....and also a one-minute forecast that airs during Rachel Ray. Another one-minute forecast is taped exclusively for the website. We then have four live cut-in's at 7:25, 7:55, 8:25, and 8:55....and each cut-in includes a 45-60 second weather hit. I also begin the 7:25 and 8:25 cut-in's at the desk with Jon for a first look at the weather....so now we're up to 26 times reciting the same forecast! That's lots and lots of talking.
I finally get a nice break after the 8:55 cut-in, but by 10:00 I have to start preparing for the noon show. This requires touching up the forecast and graphics...so hopefully things are still going according to plan! The noon show runs from 12:00 until 12:30PM, then I'm finally done for the day.
So when is "bed-time" for me? I typically aim for 5:30PM. It's a different lifestyle, but so far it has been quite rewarding and I love what I do. If you have any more questions, feel free to email me!