National Weatherman's Day: Have you hugged (or blamed) your weatherperson lately'
When the sun shines outside, it shines the brightest on WTAE's Demetrius Ivory and his weathermen kin. When it's dark, rainy or cold, the weather broadcasters, likewise, sometimes get a chilly public reception.
"When it's sunny outside and nice outside, I could run for mayor," says Ivory, of the North Hills. "I could give Luke Ravenstahl a run ... and win the quarterback position from Ben Roethlisberger. Everywhere I go, people are happy to see me.
"On a beautiful day, I get credit," he says. "On a bad day, I try to deflect it and blame it on Mother Nature."
Friday is the day to put aside your complaints. It's National Weatherman's Day, which commemorates the Feb. 5, 1744, birthday of John Jeffries, one of the nation's first weather observers, according to the National Weather Service. Jeffries began taking daily weather observations from Boston in 1774, and took the first balloon observation in 1784.
Jeff Verszyla, chief meteorologist for KDKA, has fun with the holiday, and acknowledges it in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. He jokes with his family about getting him cards and gifts, and he posts tweets on his Twitter page asking fans to send him cards with money.
Verszyla says people e-mail him or stop him when they see him in the community. He'll typically hear: "Thanks for the sunshine" or "Can you make it stop snowing?"
"As if any of us had a master switch somewhere, and we could control these things," laughs Verszyla, of the North Hills.
Sometimes people are joking, but many seriously blame him for the weather.
"Essentially, I think what it comes down to is, people look for someone to assign blame to when things don't work out the way they want them to," Verszyla says. "They can't figure out who to blame. It comes with the territory; it's part of the job. Obviously, you learn to live with and deal with it."
Julie Bologna, chief meteorologist for WPXI, says she receives mostly good-natured questions and teasing from people.
"I've always found that people have always been nice to me, especially in Pittsburgh," says Bologna, of the North Hills. "They say, 'Hey, how's the weather?' or 'When is winter going to end• Give me some sunshine.' But it's never been mean-spirited."
Sometimes viewers will jokingly tell Bologna, "Hey, I'm shoveling 2 inches of partly cloudy off my driveway this morning."
Often, it seems that people see meteorology more as an art than a science, say Bologna and Ivory. But the predictions are based on solid data coming from chemistry, math and physics.
"I think people don't realize the science behind it," Bologna says. "I think a lot of times, they think we're looking out the window and putting together a forecast. I'm looking at computer models every day.
"There's a lot of preparation that goes into it," she says. "I'm almost like a graphic artist at the same time."
Inevitably, some weather forecasts will be dead wrong.
"When you're wrong, it better be on a sunny day. That's all I can say," he says, laughing.
This common weatherman joke, Ivory says, gets old: "That's the only job where you can be wrong half the time and still get paid all the time."
Our meteorologists say they love their careers, upon which millions of people depend for critical, daily information.
"It is a lot of fun. I get excited every day to tell people the weather, because it affects everybody," Bologna says. "Whenever we're telling people to stay home, we have to get there. It's an important job, and a very interesting and fun job. ... I'm glad that I do what I do."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Spirit Airlines to add daily flights from Arnold Palmer airport to Chicago
- Blue Jays’ Martin has ‘nothing but praise’ for former Pirates teammates
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Rossi: Pirates’ post-Martin plan comes with a catch or 2
- ‘Big Mo’ ranks with A-K’s gridiron greats
- As tastes change, food giants try hipster guises
- Unity planners OK proposal for Route 30 retail development
- Concurrent Technologies focuses on developing batteries for renewable energy, electric cars
- Oil glut forces producers to seek out more storage tanks
- CMU grad’s FunBites make healthy food appeal to kids
- Artist born without arms, legs gives Hampton students peek into her world