John Morales is the longest tenured broadcast meteorologist in South Florida, serving as a reassuring television presence for nearly three decades. His tropical weather acumen and steadfast character guided South Florida viewers through hurricanes Andrew, Irene, Katrina, Wilma, and most recently Hurricane Irma. For his life-saving work during the 2017 season, Mr. Morales was recognized with the John Coleman Broadcast Award at the National Tropical Weather Conference.
Born in Schenectady, New York of an Irish-American father and a Puerto Rican mother, John was raised in Puerto Rico and later returned to his roots in Upstate New York to attend the atmospheric sciences program at prestigious Cornell University. In college, John won the student weather forecasting contest, rowed for the Cornell Crew, and later worked as a disc jockey and sportscaster for student-run radio station WVBR.
After graduation in 1984, John became a civil servant with the U.S. National Weather Service, where he became a Lead Forecaster in Puerto Rico before accepting a position as Chief of the South American Desk at the National Center for Environmental Predictions in Washington D.C.
His first TV job was at the Univision Network and its Miami station WLTV channel 23, where he served as Chief Meteorologist from 1991 through 2002. From 2003 through 2008 he served as Chief Meteorologist for WSCV Telemundo 51. While there, he became the first Latino to substitute as meteorologist on NBC’s Weekend Today show, and did so multiple times. In 2009 John Morales became Chief Meteorologist for NBC’s Miami station WTVJ NBC-6, where he still serves today.
John Morales is one of very few weather presenters elected to be a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). In what could be considered his most important scientific recognition, John earned the 2007 AMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Advance of Applied Meteorology. Among his many credentials, John holds the AMS and National Weather Association Seal of Approval for Radio and TV weathercasting, and has won the Broadcaster of the Year Award from both organizations. In addition, he is accredited by the AMS as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist. He has won three regional Emmy Awards, one at each station he has worked in. Most recently, Mr. Morales was presented with the Silver Circle Award, in recognition of the quality of his contributions to television.
In 1997, Morales participated in Vice President Al Gore’s White House conference on global warming and climate change. John returned to the White House at the invitation of President Barack Obama in 2014 for the release of the Third National Climate Assessment. He has twice been appointed to National Academies of Sciences (NAS) committees, co-authoring studies in 2012 and 2017 pertinent to America’s Weather Enterprise. He also wrote Huracanes, a Spanish-language reference book on hurricanes in 2000.
Morales’ volunteerism extends from board of directors’ participation in multiple South Florida non-profits, to mentoring young scientists, to having piloted for Angel Flight Southeast, an organization that provides free flights so children and adults can have access to far-from-home doctors. John and his wife Carmen live in Coconut Grove.