After being a meteorologist at The Weather Channel for over three decades, Jim Cantore has some unbelievable weather stories. Whether it’s experiencing ball lightning in person or seeing Hurricane Katrina firsthand, the experiences Cantore has had are parallel to none. Hear from the beloved meteorologist and voice behind “Storm Stories” about some of his most stand-out weather moments.
First Storm Coverage
I remember the first weather event I covered like it was yesterday. The second landfall of Hurricane Andrew in Louisiana, 1992. My air conditioning unit on the 16th floor of my hotel blew in the window and into the middle of my floor, while I was in bed sleeping. I wake up, and I look outside the window and literally there were transformers exploding everywhere surging and popping. It looked like the Fourth of July. So I woke up everyone “We got to go live. We got to go live. This thing is coming in.” I woke up the crew, and we get up and running. I think it was one of the earliest times we’ve ever been live on the air in our existence.
Though you always remember your first, other big events stand out. Katrina was a game changer. I think had post traumatic stress from that – that I dealt with on my own. I never smelled death; I never witnessed death until then. They were long hours. We slept in the car, and we ate crap food, but hopefully our efforts there helped bring humanitarian efforts to the people of Mississippi and Louisiana.
Most Memorable Weather Memory
Ball lightning. Nobody really understands it yet, but apparently it’s a trapped lightning charge that buzzes around. When I was a child, I experienced it on a hot summer night. We didn’t have air conditioning, so the windows were always open at night or you’d roast to death. I looked out the window toward the barn, and there was sort of this glow buzzing around the barn. The next thing I knew it took off. It felt like it came in the room, went around a couple times, then back out. There was also an ozone smell to the air like the smell after a thunderstorm. It was wild.
What Sparked My Passion for Weather
I always had a passion for weather. I just never knew that I had it until my dad asked me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I still remember the conversation. It was my senior year, I was sitting at the dining room table right next to the head of the table. My dad walked in through the hall toward the kitchen, stopped, put his hands down, and said, “Son what are you going to do for the rest of your life?” “I don’t know dad. Fireman? Electrician?” He went, “Why don’t you go study the weather? You’re like a freak when it snows. We leave the barn light on so you can see the first flakes. You shovel the driveway so your mother can get to work. You have to wake up every day for the next fifty years of your life and go to work – you really have to love what you do.”
Watch the season premiere of The Weather Channel’s beloved series Storm Stories, featuring Jim Cantore, this Sunday at 8/7c.