You’ve seen her on The Weather Channel before, but here’s your chance to really get to know Jacqui Jeras! What’s her favorite kind of weather? The most memorable weather moment she’s covered? What’s something she hopes to still be doing when she’s 60? Find out!
Where are you from?
I grew up in the Midwest. Milwaukee and St. Paul. I think the diversity of the weather there is where my interest began…
What sparked your passion for weather?
When I was in Jr. High School there was a huge flood and severe weather day when we had family friends over. I watched Dave Dahl on KSTP giving tornado warnings and weather updates. We heard there may be a tornado near our house and were hunkered down in the basement party room having a good time. When the storm seemed to have passed, we ran through the flooded gutters through our neighborhood having a blast and heading toward an open field nearby. We witnessed a rope tornado in the distance. It was incredible.
What degrees do you have?
I have a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. I also have a Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University.
How long have you been in broadcast meteorology?
Longer than I care to share. Ha! I have a few decades of experience.
What’s the most unforgettable weather event you’ve covered?
How can I pick one?! The three most memorable storms I covered were “Snowmaggedeon”, The Joplin EF5 tornado and Katrina. There are many things about all of them that were very memorable, but Snowmaggedeon was particularly notable for me as it was my first time in Washington, D.C. and I was floored by how long and intense the snow lasted. I went sledding with some kids in a local park and just made the best of it. As for Katrina, it was unquestionably the most catastrophic event I ever covered and it was a marathon. I’ll never forget the pit in my stomach when it first appeared inevitable that New Orleans would take a direct hit. I worked at CNN at the time and was in a commercial break about to interview Max Mayfield, the Director of the National Hurricane Center on the air. We chatted in the break to make sure the sound was working. I’ll never forget him telling me.. “Jacqui, this is the real deal.” It was exciting and scary and so terribly sad all at the same time for me. And as for the Joplin EF5, I was on the air with wall to wall coverage of the tornado and radar when it hit. I could clearly see the debris ball signature on radar as it moved through Joplin. It was a terrible feeling knowing that a disaster was happening and that people’s lives would be lost and others changed forever. I got on a flight first thing the next morning and reported from there for a week. It was the worst damage I ever witnessed first-hand. I met some amazing resilient people. I’ll also never forget helping a young woman figure out what happened to her grandmother. The grandmother’s house was totaled and nobody seemed to know where she was. I was able to help her track the elderly woman down to a hospital in Arkansas. She had serious injuries, but they weren’t life threatening. It was rewarding to be able to help her connect with her on the phone.
What kind of weather is most fascinating to you and why?
It may sound cliche, but I truly am fascinated with all types. But, I love a good snow storm. It’s a challenge to forecast precipitation types and snow amounts so I enjoy that part of it. I also love a walk in the woods during or just after a beautiful, clean, fresh snowfall.
What’s your favorite season and why?
Fall without a doubt. Fall is crisp and dry and beautiful. I love everything about it. From frosty mornings to sunny mild afternoons to hiking in the crunching leaves, everything about fall is the BEST.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Probably not much. Ha! I’m pretty much an open book. Maybe the fact that I really love a physical challenge and doing adventure races. I also did a Triathlon (Sprint). It’s my goal to still be doing flips off the diving board when I’m 60!
What’s your favorite thing about working at The Weather Channel?
The people. This building is filled with so many smart, talented and kind souls. It is a privilege to be surrounded by them every day.
Keep an eye out for Jacqui on The Weather Channel!