It’s been exactly a month since the entire First Alert Weather team started doing weather from home.
Nearly all of the 100 meteorologists at NBC-owned stations across the U.S. are producing their weather-casts from home these days.
“We really appreciate the science. The scientists and the experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases said that this is going to spread," said Nate Johnson, the Director of Weather Operations for the station group. "It’s going to be a big deal. And we wanted to make sure that we were in a position to continue to cover the weather the way our viewers expect us to no matter what happens.”
The NBC stations were one of the first TV-ownership groups to encourage staff to work from home. At MétéoMédia, a 24-hour weather network in Canada and part of a larger multinational company, they too were aggressive in sending people home.
"Because we have an office in Madrid – very early recognized what was happening in Spain. And very early, the CEOs of the company said, ‘hold on, we might have to go work from home so let’s make sure we can do this,'" said Patrick de Bellefeuille, a 30-year veteran weather presenter and environmental specialist. Patrick works alone in a deserted newsroom.
That’s not the case at Al Jazeera English in Qatar. There are fewer people in the building, but there are prerequisites just to enter the studios.
“When we go into the premises, there are nurses who will check your temperature just to make sure you’re not running about 37 Celsius apparently,” said Everton Fox, also a veteran weather presenter, originally from England.
At Austria’s public broadcaster ORF, a weathercaster’s workday can be a lonely experience. Marcus Wadsak is one of their weather presenters. These days, he never sees his other weather colleague, or any other coworkers.
"It’s only me in the studio because the cameras are automatically working so I can’t get in touch with anybody and I have to the makeup by myself," he said. "It’s very lonesome these days.”
Like so many others, weather presenters around the world are trying to juggle their professional duties with new and challenging tasks.
"At home I do not only have to work on weather and climate change, also I’m now the teacher for my younger son because school is closed and now they have to learn at home," Wadsak said. "You choose the time when you do things for your son and then you do the work the weather. We do our best.”
That’s what we’re all doing. Our very best given the circumstances. NBC 6 Chief Meteorologist John Morales said that the audience can continue to trust the First Alert Weather team to keep them weather-ready and storm-safe.
“We have all the tools, including our First Alert Doppler 6000, remotely at our disposal and will be on top of things as we approach rainy season and the dreaded hurricane season," he said. "You can count on us always.”