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Jerry Martz: WTAE, staff meteorologist

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Age: 33.

Birthplace: Greensburg.

Years at WTAE: 6.

Previous broadcasting experience: Carnegie Science Center Weather Service, forecast for WPXI-TV; WTOV-TV, Steubenville, weekend meteorologist; and WBRE-TV, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, morning and noon meteorologist.

Jerry Martz

Weather training: Bachelor's in meteorology, Penn State University, 1991; holds AMS and NWA seals; and trained SKYWARN observer.

Weather idol or model: Joe DeNardo and Dennis Bowman. Anyone growing up in Southwestern Pennsylvania knows that DeNardo is synonymous with weather, and Joe's accuracy and attitude toward forecasting is one that I try to emulate. ... Dennis gave me opportunities to visit him and learn from him while I was still in college. I also appreciated his method of delivering the weather and, early in my career, used his style as a model.

Were you a weather geek as a child? I can't say that I was always a weather geek, but it has always fascinated me. In fact, I began practicing severe-weather safety at a very early age. When strong thunderstorms were on the way, I would grab some Cheerios and hunker down inside my toy box!

How do you feel when you receive credit or blame for the weather? There is nothing that sticks with you more than when, out in public, someone calls you to the mat for a blown forecast. That being said, it's often those types of comments that drive me to be a better forecaster.

Best weather call? I truly can't recall any single event of which I am particularly proud.

Biggest miss? On a pleasant May morning, when I was working in Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, we had a studio tour of about 20 elementary school students and their teachers. Their school was only about a mile away and they asked if it would be OK to walk back after the noon news. "No problem," I said. Well, they thanked me and left. When I was driving across a bridge on the way home -- the same route they were taking -- it started pouring rain and hailing. Needless to say, I felt terrible and learned a valuable lesson: Always look outside before delivering a forecast!

Forecasting -- art or science? A bit of both. Even with all the technology and training (science) available to forecasters today, the end product still requires processing by a human (art).

If it's a science, how accurate should viewers expect you to be? Viewers should expect us to be right almost all the time. And for the most part, I think we deliver.

Vacation ruined by weather, blame? We once had a brush with a hurricane while on vacation in North Carolina -- I wanted to stay but was in the minority -- but, so far, have been pretty fortunate.

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