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Weather Channel meteorologist drops in to feel Pittsburgh's chill

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

So much for exporting a new image of Pittsburgh.

Yesterday it was the same old gray as The Weather Channel came to town for several live reports overlooking the ice-filled Monongahela River.

Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel broadcast live yesterday near the Point. Seidel, who earned a master's degree in meteorology at Penn State, crisscrosses the country doing weather reports for the cable channel. (Theresa Glenn, Post-Gazette)

On-camera meteorologist Mike Seidel, who has a master of science degree in meteorology from Penn State, reported throughout the day about the lingering cold, including a live report yesterday morning on CBS's "The Early Show."

In a report for The Weather Channel at 4 p.m., he told viewers it was the 18th consecutive day of sub-freezing temperatures in Pittsburgh, a tie for the fifth-largest stretch of such a chill.

Seidel and a crew of three, including two taping footage for promos, scouted locations on Mount Washington on Monday night before selecting a spot near the Point.

Seidel is never in the studio. Instead, he crisscrosses the country, going where the most interesting (i.e. severe, camera-friendly) weather is and appearing in live shots to give viewers a glimpse of the varying conditions. Since Jan. 1, he's been in St. Louis; Kansas City; Orlando, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; San Diego; and Newburgh, N.Y.

Still, he said, standing in the cold never gets tiring.

"I'm a true blue weather weenie," he said. "I prefer to have something falling on me, preferably horizontally. I love getting battered by the elements. If there's not precipitation, it's not nearly as fun. People tell us they like to see us getting battered."

His all-time favorite winter weather stint? It was in Buffalo, N.Y., in December 2001 when it snowed seven feet in five days. "Everything pales in comparison," Seidel said.

By his 4:30 p.m. live shot, the snow picked up in intensity, and Seidel looked forward to how the snow would appear on camera once it got dark.

"With the lights, it doesn't take much to look like a blizzard," he said. "The light reflects off the ice crystals. It's a perception thing."

Just like the cold, snowy image of Pittsburgh.

Rob Owen can be reached at rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Post questions or comments to http://www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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