Meteorologists Who Lost It On Live TV

You can try to ignore the weather, but the weather won't ignore you. Whether your weekend plans involve a backyard barbecue, a beach excursion, or a ski trip, all it takes is one freak hurricane or blast of lightning to derail your plans, ruin your house, or burn down the forest. 

That said, you have to hand it to the folks who go on TV every morning, stand before a green screen map, and feign excitement about the 10-day forecast. For weather reporters, there's no way to win. If it's a sunny week, your shtick is considered boring, but if hailstorms are coming that night, everyone acts like it's your fault. Day after day, week after week, those nice folks have to get suited up, explain obscure science in layperson's terms, and never stop smiling. Honestly, it's no wonder that, every once in a while, meteorologists flip out on live TV.

Jamie Simpson calls Bachelorette fans pathetic

In May of 2019, a tornado shredded the streets of Dayton, Ohio, causing severe property damage. Luckily, the local Ohioans couldn't say the alarms weren't sounded, according to Newsweek, thanks to the assertive efforts of FOX 45 weatherman Jamie Simpson. 

Not everyone was so happy about it, however. The weatherman's live report, made several hours before the tornadoes rushed through, happened to cut into an airing of "The Bachelorette," and the fan base expressed their frustration via social media. Rather than ignore these complaints, Simpson flipped out at the selfishness of the reality show's fans, furiously expressing that his entire job was "to keep people safe," and even going so far as to call these fans "pathetic" for expressing annoyance at a weather alert designed to save lives. Aggressive? Sure. Necessary? Yes. 

The tornado ended up claiming one life, destroying "a wide swath" of central Ohio, and injuring twelve, according to Today. When Simpson's clip went viral, Dayton locals praised Simpson on social media for his dedication to making sure the message got out there, and fellow weathermen Al Roker and Ethan Emery sounded their support. 

While Simpson certainly did make a scene, this is a rare instance where he was totally justified — and he even quickly apologized, to boot. People were warned, lives were saved, and the fact that Simpson's clip went viral only brought more publicity to the dangerous weather conditions. Good for him.

There goes the notes

Sometimes, weathermen lose it on TV for good reasons. There are other times, though, where they just embarrass themselves. CNN weather reporter Chad Myers perhaps falls into the latter category. Back in 2005, Myers was explaining the situation surrounding Hurricane Katrina. Naturally, this was a stressful time for a lot of people, particularly in New Orleans. However, what got Myers antsy wasn't the hurricane itself, but rather, the fact that anchor Carol Costello kept asking him to translate what he was saying into words the average viewer could understand. 

Evidently, Myer didn't like the suggestion, so he hulked out. Well, not in the "going green" sense, but rather, he threw his notes to the floor and yelled at her about not letting him talk, like a kid throwing a temper tantrum. Myers did catch himself pretty quickly ... but not before the camera did. Oops. At the end, Myers smiled and claimed that he was just "having fun," but it sure didn't look like it. 

To be fair, The Week points out that this footage was filmed and broadcast at 4:30 AM, and that's one heck of an early time to be at work, much less fielding questions. Not a great excuse, but still.

Weather on the eight (legged freaks)

Spiders get a bad rap. Yes, they have a lot of legs, and yes, they can be poisonous, but they're also fantastic artists, and having a spider on your ceiling does a lot to get rid of your flies, mosquitoes, and other pests. Unfortunately, a lot of people find the mere sight of those creepy-crawly limbs too much to bear, including Global News meteorologist Kristi Gordon. According to Complex, Gordon freaked out on live television in 2013, when a giant arachnid was projected right over her head. As you can imagine, her coworkers erupted in hysterical delight as she shrieked in fear and briefly ran off camera. Although she was clearly a good sport about the eight-legged invader, it took her a good moment to shake off the heebie-jeebies, even when it was pointed out that the spider wasn't in the same room as her.

Luckily for Gordon, she's not the only weather forecaster with a buggy phobia. In 2017, for instance, one perturbed weatherman was forced to endure the sight of a giant spider eating its prey before his eyes. Similarly, Fox 59 weather woman Jennifer Ketchmark was totally not okay with the colossal bee flying around behind her, and a CBS 13 weatherman in West Virginia, named Bryan Hughes, literally screamed in horror when a spider appeared on his screen. If these examples are any indication, arthropods and weather forecasts just don't mix well.

Garry Frank has had it with your complaints

Listen, unless you're a White Walker or a yeti, nobody's ever happy to hear that the next seven days are going to be filled with so much snow, sleet, and black ice that you'll have to wear six jackets and drive at five miles per hour. That said, back when everybody was bonding over how miserable the 2018 cold snap was, Grand Rapids, Michigan meteorologist Garry Frank made it clear that he was tired of being on the receiving end of everyone's gripes, according to The Detroit News. After reporting day in and day out about Antarctic-style conditions  — only to repeatedly earn the groans and dismissal of his coworkers — Frank finally snapped into berserker mode, spewing out a viral rant where he said that if people didn't learn to relax, he was going to just lie and put 70 every time. Uh, ouch?

Frank painted a clear picture of how much he hated coming to the studio at all hours, putting on a chipper smile, and getting the same glum reaction to his reports "for five straight hours." To be honest, that does sound like a horrible gig, and if there's one lesson in all this, it's that if you ever meet a meteorologist at a cocktail party, you probably shouldn't kvetch to him about the lousy weather. 

Angelica Duria is all of us

Listen, it's one thing if you have to drive to work in the middle of the night to get to the studio, drink coffee, and talk to viewers before a green screen. That's no cakewalk. However, such an ordeal can't compare to the sheer exhaustion faced by weather reporters who are assigned to the field during bad weather, whereupon they have to actually walk around in the abysmal conditions, over and over again, just to make sure some reckless winter warrior doesn't go zooming down the highway as if it's mid-July. 

CNN reported that WITI-TV reporter Angelica Duria was the unfortunate candidate for the job, getting stuck standing in a Milwaukee snowstorm for an entire morning, reporting on weather that clearly wasn't going to improve. As the time passed ever-so-coldly, Duria danced, laughed, shivered, and as the lunch hour finally approached, lit up the screen with a rant that every viewer could relate to: "I have been here since 3:30 this morning, and it's now ... I don't even know what time it is, 9:45? I'm exhausted. I've run out of things to say, and it's snowing, and it sucks here!"

Not surprisingly, her cohorts back in the warm studio applauded ... because yeah, as any Midwesterner knows, being stuck in that winter "wonderland" for hours definitely sucks. As writer Trisha Lavey put it, Duria simply said on television what everyone was already thinking. Cheers for the truth.

Jim Kosek gets a little excited

Some weathermen lose their marbles in a fit of rage. Others pitch happy fits. Then there's Accuweather meteorologist Jim Kosek, a man who, as Business Insider reports, has turned "losing it" into a genuine art form. Kosek's most popular moment was probably his "Snowpocalypse Now" performance, which opens the floor with gritty terror — "Oh boy ... 14 to 22 inches of snow" — then evolves into the raging tirade resembling a football fan whose team just lost the Super Bowl. It's sheer lunacy, but to be honest, you probably feel the same way whenever you have to make an hour-long commute through 14 to 22 inches of snow. Ugh.

Kosek's performance art, a steep contrast to the professionalism of his surroundings, is astonishing. It's terrifying. It's impossible to look away from. The crazy thing, though, is that Kosek never used to be this way. Back when he started reporting for Accuweather in the 1980s, his weather reports were the boring, straight-laced segments you'd expect. But at some point, the mundane routine of recording 40 segments a day finally got under his skin .. and, like Batman's arch-nemesis the Joker, decided it was time to light the world on fire.

How does Kosek find the energy? The man himself has allegedly said, on air (per Business Insider), that he thinks it's totally fine to be "juiced, tanked, a little under the influence" while doing his job. Ah, that explains it.

Watch out for that pelican!

Okay, picture this: You're watching the morning news one day, when suddenly the weatherman — right in the middle of his speech — erupts into a blood-curdling scream. Suddenly, the camera cuts away to show that he's in a zoo, getting attacked by a Godzilla-sized pelican

Yeah, this really happened. The Australian weather reporter in the clip is named Steve Jacobs, according to The Telegraph, and the pelican is named Marnie.  And yeah, technically he simply lost his composure, rather than totally "losing it," but can you blame him? Seriously, you try staying cool when a mammoth bird pecks at your butt on live TV. To be fair to Marnie, the pelican's pecking attack seemed more playful than aggressive, but that didn't make it any less shocking ... or hilarious, as Jacobs's terror quickly gave way to laughter. While Jacobs did joke that he was probably going to be "mentally scarred" by the ordeal, it seems far more likely that this is now just his favorite drunk story at parties. 

Looking back on it, the whole scene played out like something you'd expect to see in "Twin Peaks," though it's worth noting that when show creator David Lynch actually did give weather daily reports, they were surprisingly mundane ... and didn't involve any pelicans.

Clean the snow off your car already, jeez

In 2017, Fox 2 weather reporter Derek Kevra got so infuriated by people not properly cleaning the snow off their cars, after a storm, that he filmed an entire sequence explaining the correct way to do so. Acknowledging that cleaning off the snow must be a "really hard concept for people to understand," Kevra proceeded to demonstrate — while lecturing — how to make left and right swipes to eliminate the snow from your windows, windshield, and so on. Thanks, man!

The whole sequence is every bit as passive aggressive as it sounds. And okay, sure, it's not quite "live television," considering that it was clearly recorded and edited beforehand. However, the raging fury in this clip is so clear, so intense, and so full of bitter sarcasm that it paints a magnificent portrait of what happens when you finally push a weatherman too far. Honestly, though, Kevra is 100 percent right. Cleaning the snow off your car is a lot more important than people think it is, as explained by WTKR, since those chunks of ice that fly off your bumper can do significant damage to other cars, not to mention, cause accidents. Considering that it takes about five minutes to follow Kevra's directions, there's no excuse for driving around in a mobile igloo.

We got it, baby!

When it comes to weather, you know what's awesome? Well, most people might say sunshine — and those kids in the back might say rain — but if you're Weather Channel meteorologist James Cantore from Boston, the most glorious phenomenon of all is when a lightning bolt strikes during a thunderstorm. During a televised segment in 2015, Cantore got so psyched about this bizarre phenomenon that he danced through the snow drifts while screaming at the top of his lungs, "Oh yes! Yes, yes! We got it baby!"

Weird? Sure. But hey, that's Boston for you. Haven't you seen how excited these folks get for a good sports match?

According to The Washington Post, Cantore is well-known throughout the weather community for his passion for so-called "thunder snow," i.e., the spectacular effects that happen when Thor and the X-Men heroine Storm test their powers against each other. As Cantore told, "It's kind of like two seasons coming together." Hey, he's not wrong. By Cantore's count, he's been lucky enough to experience thunder snow live on TV at least five times, in Boston, Chicago, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. For his sake, and the sake of his fans, hopefully another rockin' thunder snow light show happens again soon.

Whoops, wrong finger

If you want to get technical this doesn't quite count as "losing it," but it sure is an easy way to lose your job, unless you've got a really swell boss.

Back in 2010, according to the BBC, weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker got caught in a rather awkward snafu when the cameras switched over a second too fast, revealing him brandishing a prominent middle finger. Oops. Schafernaker quickly moved his hand to act as if he'd been scratching his chin, in a slapstick gesture reminiscent of a Jim Carrey movie, but no one was convinced. The timing was either absolutely perfect or the worst ever, depending on your viewpoint. 

Most viewers probably loved this moment, but not everyone was so delighted, and a spokesman for the BBC quickly issued an apology for the matter. This wasn't the first time that Schafernaker's sense of humor got him into trouble, apparently, since he previously had to apologize for calling a certain region "nowheresville" during a 2007 segment, and in 2009, he accidentally mispronounced "muddy site" in a rather NSFW way (say it six times fast, and you'll understand). But hey, every workplace needs a good prankster to keep spirits up, right?

When the sportscaster had to sub in

It can't be fun for most meteorologists to go out into the field during inclement weather. If they're out in heavy rainfall, they'll get soaked. If they're out when it's hailing, the hail hurts. Strong winds can take away umbrellas, props, and concentration. Lightning, tornadoes, and below-freezing temperatures can be dangerous. But at least TV weather people go into the job expecting a certain amount of direct exposure to the elements.

On the other hand, their colleagues over in sports might step outside to cover a live game, but when the weather turns bad, games are usually called off, and sportscasters usually stay indoors. That, at least, was what Mark Woodley of KWWL News 7 in Waterloo, Iowa, was used to. But when a blast of snow and below-zero temperatures hit the Midwest in December 2022 and canceled all the local sporting events, Woodley found himself pressed into service — five hours before his usual punch-in time — as the man on the street during the snowstorm.

All through the night, anchors in the studio cut to Woodley's live reporting on the storm, and he gave increasingly ornery answers to their questions. At one point, he pointed out that the station's storm chaser was safe and warm inside, while he could barely feel his face. Later, he half-jokingly accused someone at the station of extending the broadcast just to torture him. And when daylight broke, Woodley made no attempt to hide his relief at being to go back indoors.

One misunderstanding broke Jordan Witzel

Misunderstandings happen at work all the time, whatever the type of job. Many are easy to clear up, but that doesn't erase the embarrassment that's sometimes created. That goes double, one suspects, when a misunderstanding happens live on-air. Global Calgary weatherman Jordan Witzel was already outside his comfort zone on June 20, 2017: After delivering the forecast, he had to present the daily entry from a list of 150 healthy physical activities Canadians could be doing to mark the country's 150th birthday. But things got really uncomfortable when Witzel learned that the daily entry was on swinging.

Witzel assumed that "swinging" was being used as a reference to spouse-swapping parties and became visibly disturbed before the cameras. The two anchors at the news desk struggled to contain their laughter as Witzel turned to sarcastic quips about the clichés of such a party. It took him 30 seconds to realize that "swinging" referred to swinging on a playground swing. "So, either way, you get your activity in for the day, I guess," he said, which only broke down the anchors into even more hysterical laughter.

A green screen glitch cloned the weatherwoman

What's a local weather report without a green screen? It's become as fundamental to the segment as the forecast itself. Meteorologists go into the job knowing that they'll be expected to work with the graphics displayed behind them through chroma key technology. But the technology behind such displays isn't foolproof, as Jennifer McDermed of Fox 9 Minnesota learned one spring day in 2021. No sooner had she reported on the evening temperatures when she, and the audience at home, started seeing double.

A glitch in the green screen display replicated the video feed with a slight delay. This meant there were two McDermeds — then three — then four — and on and on it went. Each replication was slightly bigger and more delayed than the one before it. Eventually, McDermed overtook anything else in the display as she moved around, having fun with the glitch.

Whatever caused the display hiccup went away when it cut to another graphic, and McDermed gamely persevered with the forecast. But the laughter, from her and the news anchors, never completely died down.

A bird interrupted the forecast via satellite

Meteorologists can't control the weather, only predict it. On the other hand, they do have a degree of control over the graphics and satellite feed displayed on the green screen behind them, but there can be surprises there too, just as wild as any freak storm. Live video can be interrupted by curious animals who want a closer look at the strange metal objects they find.

Having heard about a California weatherman who took a fright from a bird popping into his display, the team at Denver 7 ABC decided to have fun with weatherwoman Lisa Hidalgo in 2016. The producer told her to stay on camera even after wrapping up the 7-day forecast. Hidalgo soon found out why: the team had cut in footage of a raven investigating a camera mounted over a football stadium.

Unlike her counterpart in California, Hidalgo didn't recoil from the raven. She laughed off the prank, mimed kissing the bird, and joined it in cawing at the camera.

No one told Greg Dutra he had a touchscreen

If technology is going to be effectively employed in the workplace, then workers need to be taught how to use it — and made aware that it exists in the first place. Bring in the latest gear without alerting or training anybody, and mistakes or surprises are liable to derail people on the job. And who wants that to happen on live television?

That was the situation meteorologist Greg Dutra found himself in on August 4, 2022. The ABC7 Chicago weatherman was talking through an upcoming change in Chicago's wind patterns with the aid of a digital monitor. When he made a gesture to indicate the wind's direction, his hand slid along the display, altering him to the fact that his monitor was a touchscreen.

The forecast went off the rails as Dutra and the news anchors, all shocked at the discovery, played around with the screen. They determined, through fits of laughter, that they could scroll, zoom, and tilt the weather map. Dutra finally pulled things back to the weather, with a vow to figure out just how the touchscreen worked. "This wasn't in the training manual!" he later wrote on Twitter.

Mike Sobel might regret bringing a dog into the forecast

For 15 years, Global Edmonton has brought animals from the Edmonton Humane Society into the studio as part of an ongoing Adopt a Pet program. The animals are shown during the weather report by meteorologist Mike Sobel. Animals are always unpredictable before the camera, and Sobel says he's seen his share of funny hijinks from his guest stars (per Inside Edition). But one dog was in a league of his own.

That was Ripple, a cross between a German Shepherd and a Mastiff. While tall enough to clear Sobel's knees even on all fours, Ripple was only a puppy when he came onto an October 2014 weather report, and he was very interested in playing with his leash. That soon turned into a tug-of-war with Sobel, who increasingly struggled to keep his focus on the forecast. When someone off-camera offered to take Ripple, Sobel pointed out that he wouldn't get any less rambunctious, and he soldiered on. But the leash — along with Sobel's concentration — broke when Ripple chewed through it.

Ripple's performance might have frustrated anyone trying to get an idea of the weather ahead of weekend plans, but it did right by him: A week after he appeared, it was announced that he'd been adopted by a couple in Alberta (per Global News).

Bombed by a bee

As autumn 2014 came along, the news anchors at Fox 59 Indianapolis had one thing on their minds: bees. There were a lot of them out and about in the area, and one of the anchors made her position on the insects very clear. "As long as it's outside, not inside, you won't see me dashing out the studio," she said (via Fox 59 News). Her partner weighed in with the uncomfortable times when you can't tell if an insect by a window is in or out.

At that moment, they cut over to meteorologist Jennifer Ketchmark, who was laughing over their conversation. She tried to pull herself together as the green screen behind her displayed the view from the studio's tower camera. Just as Ketchmark was ready to deliver the forecast, a bee swooped in front of the lens, sending the studio into a fit. "Let's get past the tower cam!" said Ketchmark. "I don't want to look at it anymore!" She also predicted that the segment was bound to end up on a blooper reel.

Larry Sprinkle couldn't get through a typo

Laughter is an involuntary response, and it doesn't always take something big to set it off. A simple typo can cause someone to fall apart laughing. WCNC's morning weatherman Larry Sprinkle — yes, that is this meteorologist's name — seemed well-prepared for his report on July 13, 2020. But as he stepped out to deliver the daily temperatures, he noticed that the map shown on his green screen listed several counties with a troubling high — not the expected 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but an absurdly-hot 150 degrees.

No matter how hard he tried, Sprinkle could not stop laughing. The graphics transitioned to the seven-day forecast, with correct temperatures, but it didn't help. Nor did the off-camera news anchor's many comments about the typo. Playing as if they were real temperatures, he demanded to know why Sprinkle hadn't warned the Charlotte, North Carolina, community about such terrible heat. Sprinkle finally had to beg for relief from someone off-camera named Ruby.