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What Do Weathercasters Do?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Weathercasters predict the weather and forecast their predictions on television news programs. They typically must have a degree in meteorology and be able to interpret weather situations via radar and tower cameras (cams). A television weathercaster must prepare daily and/or weekly forecasts in a spoken format that fits his or her given broadcast time slot for reporting to viewers.

Using their own, and/or a television station's, computer to track weather trends and conditions is a constant task of weathercasters. They use software that delivers weather conditions and camera images, but also incorporates physics and differential equations in atmospheric science. Keeping up with computer "bugs" and updates is something a weathercaster tends to do often, as new weather-predicting technology is constantly being created.

A weathercaster must arrive at the television station in plenty of time before the news broadcast to be ready for his or her segment. Most weathercasters stand in front of maps and other weather graphics while using a pointer or their hand to indicate conditions that are moving into each geographic area. It's a newscaster's job to make his or her weather reports and updates relevant to what the viewers of the news program want to know. In winter weather, the forecaster is likely to focus on how much snow is expected or how icy road conditions are, while in summertime, heat warnings and sun protection needs are more of an issue.

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Following the dress code, tone of presentation and other policies of the television station are the responsibility of a weathercaster. Some weather forecasters dress casually or even humorously while joking lightheartedly through their segment, while others wear business suits and are more matter of fact in their presentation. Since many weather segments are done near the end of the news program, forecasters are usually introduced by the anchor people. Many television stations encourage a friendly on air rapport between the anchor people and the weathercaster, so there may be a short segue between them right before the weather forecast segment.

For example, if the newscasters were reporting on a parade scheduled for the next day, the question of the possible weather conditions may be brought up by the anchor desk. It would then be the weathercaster's job to make a transition from what the anchorperson said to introduce the weather segment. This type of segue, or transition, between the two different segments of the newscast then becomes seamless and cohesive for viewers. While most weathercasters have a regular time slot to perform their segment at the television station, some also are sent to cover community events such as fairs or outdoor sports games along with weather forecasting.

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