Cantore was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and raised in White River Junction, Vermont. He graduated from Lyndon State College and joined The Weather Channel in 1986 immediately after graduating college. Cantore anchors and forecasts the nation’s weather day-to-day and helps produce documentaries on meteorology, forecasting and historic storms.
During Cantore’s career, he has reported from events such as the Olympics, NASA launches, NFL games, PGA tournaments and the Winter X Games. He also created the Fall Foliage Forecast. Cantore has covered major weather events such as Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Matthew, Irma and Dorian. It’s his work in the midst of those storms that has made him the meteorologist his viewers hate to see coming – if Cantore is in town, it means it’s time for everyone else to leave.
Cantore holds the AMS Television Seal of Approval and received the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration David S. Johnson Award in 2003. Jim was inducted into the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center Hall of Fame in February 2013, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Southeast Chapter. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. In 2018, Jim was presented with an honorary doctorate from Lyndon State College and was inducted into the Weather Hall of Fame at the National Weather Museum and Science Center. In 2019, Jim received a News and Documentary Emmy ® for his role in The Weather Channel’s Immersive Mixed Reality storytelling which depicted the dangers of tornadoes.
Where are you from?
White River Junction, VT
Where did you go to college?
Lyndon State College
What's your favorite season?
How long have you been with The Weather Channel?
I’ve been with The Weather Channel since 1986.
What's your favorite 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 is your most memorable/funniest on-camera moment?
It’d have to be the time I got hiccups on air. I had to do the segment, and it sounded like I was Foster Brooks (drunk). It was definitely the funniest moment.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I love to garden. I love to take plants that nobody wants or regrets from the nursery and put them in the ground and make them grow. My favorite is Japanese Maples - I probably have a couple hundred spread across various properties. Gardening is the gift that gets on giving. People don't realize how incredibly beautiful they are in the spring. Some of the leaves come out all white, pink, yellow, purple, chartreuse, burgundy...incredible. The color in the spring when you mass plant different varieties is even better than the fall.
What sparked your 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.”
If you could only have one piece of weather data what would you choose and why?
Satellite imagery so I can see what’s coming.
What do you want to say to our fans?
Thanks for being our fans. In times where you turn on the television and other networks are trying to make you pick a side, we don’t do that on The Weather Channel. We aren’t trying to make you pick anything. Know we are there to do the weather when it really matters, and we are going to take you before, after and during the storm. That’s our agenda - it’s that simple. We are a service.