When compared to other reporting jobs on television and radio stations, being a weather girl stands out because of the job’s unique qualifications. In fact, according to online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter, “The qualifications needed for a career as a weather reporter include a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences, meteorology, or a related field. If the position requires on-air performance, you need to have experience working in some form of broadcast journalism. You also need to possess excellent communication and public speaking skills, as weather reporters must translate complex atmospheric and climate data into understandable forecasts.”
To make matters more challenging, weather reporters are also made to follow several rules when they are doing their job. Just check out these 15 rules that we have discovered so far:
15 Know all the relevant terms
When you’re preparing to deliver a weather report in front of millions of people, it’s best to have extensive knowledge of the terms you need to give your statements clarity and factualness. Among these terms is sky condition.
According to the National Weather Service, it “describes the predominant/average sky cover based on the percent of the sky covered by opaque (not transparent) clouds.” This can be clear/sunny, mostly clear/mostly sunny, partly cloudy/partly sunny, mostly cloudy and cloudy.
14 Be prepared to show up early
Weather forecasts usually help people plan out their day better. Hence, television stations often deliver vital weather reports early in the morning. For a weather girl, that means showing up to work while most of the country is still asleep.
As award-winning television weather presenter, Carol Kirkwood has told BBC, “I get up between 0245 and 0300 am each day for work. I try to be in bed by 8pm and I average between four and six hours sleep a night and sometimes it isn't enough!”
13 Learn to work with a green screen
Any weather reporter knows that knowing how to work with a green screen is key to delivering a successful weather forecast. After all, this screen often serves a visual aid.
As KIRO 7 chief meteorologist Morgan Palmer has explained, “Essentially the computers in the weather department take everything that’s that shade of green and put the weather maps over it. I can’t wear this shade of green or anything very similar, otherwise you would see Everett through my tie.” Meanwhile, Palmer controls the screen’s visuals using a unique remote control.
12 Always abide by the dress code
Typically, there are certain dress codes that weather girls have to abide by. According to a post by FOX 4 meteorologist Jennifer Myers on Reddit, “Some of us have very strict dress codes... so it's pretty hard to have a closet stocked with solid colors and jewel tones that are affordable and flattering.”
Meanwhile, KOCO Oklahoma meteorologist Shelby Hays also told Tech Insider, “Many stations even have consultants that come in and tell you colors you should and shouldn’t wear.”
11 You must know how to ad-lib
Weather reporters are expected to be spontaneous about their lines.
As Western Mass News meteorologist Jacob Wycoff has told Mental Floss, "Generally speaking we’re using the graphics to talk through our stories, but everything we say is ad-libbed. Sometimes you can fumble the words you want to say, and sometimes you may miss a beat, but I think what that allows you to do is have a little off-the-cuff moment, which I think the viewers enjoy."
10 Make the weather easy for everyone to understand
When you’re a weather girl that everyone relies on for their daily forecast, the last thing you want to do is to make your report sound complicated. After all, you are delivering your report to a large population with varying age groups.
And you would have to make sure that everyone understands what you’re trying to say.
9 Never rely on seven-day forecasts
Wycoff further explained to Mental Floss, “I would say that within three days, meteorologists are about 90 percent accurate. Then at five days we’re at about 60 percent to 75 percent and then after seven days it becomes a bit more wishy-washy.”
Hence, an effective weather girl is someone who would base her report on the latest weather conditions.
8 Take your duties very seriously
A weather girl plays an integral role in news reporting. And as journalists themselves, they are expected to get their weather information from reliable sources so that their weather report would also be as accurate as possible.
That pretty much means you have to do a lot of extensive reading as you put your report together. You may also need to take conference calls with weather bureaus prior to reporting.
7 Be willing to study and train
As Kirkwood has explained to BBC, “The training I would say is vital and ongoing, it doesn't stop, I'm still always learning.
So even though you might have done your exams early on, we have further courses we go on and because of the nature of the weather, it's always changing and so is the job.”
6 Take a minute to talk about a topic
According to the BBC News School Report, you should “Talk for one minute on a chosen topic (it does not have to be the weather).”
Doing so can be a great way to break up any monotony (or awkwardness) in your weather reporting. It also reminds viewers that they are listening to an actual person, not some robot.
5 Don’t stray away from your chosen topic
Once you’ve decided on the topic that you want to discuss for a minute, make sure that you should just with that. Never extend your discussion to other topics, which are not related to the weather.
Remember, the one-minute discussion is supposed to serve as some sort of ice breaker. Your remaining time on the air must be utilized for your weather report.
4 Announce severe weather on time
Especially in times of impending severe weather in the area, it is up to a weather girl and other weather reporters to inform the public in time.
As Wycoff further explained to Mental Floss, “If you miss a severe weather forecast and someone’s out on the ball field and gets stuck, someone could get injured. It is a great responsibility that we have.”
3 Never hesitate on-air
When you’re delivering a weather forecast, the last thing you want to do is appear unconfident and unsure about your report. Hence, it’s never good to show any type of hesitation on your part. Furthermore, Kirkwood told BBC, “You have to do your job, whatever it is, to the best of your ability. Occasionally the weather is wrong, but more often than not, it's right.”
2 Don’t repeat yourself
The moment you’re on the air, you have to make it a point not to repeat your words. Remember, when you’re redundant, your viewers notice. And the moment they do, your entire weather forecast can become pretty boring to them.
In the end, they may choose to tune in to another weather report and switch channels.
1 Love the weather
As Kirkwood has told the BBC, “So it was a long-winded route but oh boy was it worth it - I love it! Never let anybody tell you the weather is boring because it's not, it changes every single day.
I love watching temperatures and breaking records. Watching rainfall totals can be fascinating and hurricanes can be horrible if you're going to be affected by one, but for us it's like is it a category three or four or five - the big beast! You can't help but get caught up in it.”
Sources - ZipRecruiter, National Weather Service, BBC, KIRO 7 & Edutopia