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Matt Morano: WPGH, chief meteorologist

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Age: 40.

Birthplace: Greenwich, Conn.

Years at WPGH: 4 1/2.

Previous broadcasting experience: NewsChannel 8, Washington, D.C., chief meteorologist; WROC-TV, Rochester, N.Y., meteorologist; WVII-TV, Bangor, Maine, chief meteorologist; and operational meteorologist for private sector companies, Lou McNally Associates, Universal Weather and Aviation, Fleetweather Inc., where my duties included radio forecasts.

Matt Morano

Weather training: Bachelor's in meteorology, Lyndon State College in Vermont, 1984; AMS seal.

Weather idol or model: I grew up watching the New York City TV market. Dr. Frank Field of WNBC-TV and Alan Kasper of WCBS-TV were two of my favorites.

Were you a weather geek as a child? My father said that, as a child, I was always looking up at the sky. ... I was always fascinated by extremes of weather, such as snowstorms and thunderstorms. I loved them so much that I knew I wanted to major in meteorology.

How do you feel when you receive credit or blame for the weather? It seems the credit always comes for a sunny day and the blame for anything else. ... What really bothers me is when someone is surprised by the weather and says that I didn't predict it, when, in fact, I did. They hear forecasts somewhere else or hear only what they want to hear.

Best weather call? Most recently, I forecast the area's first significant snowfall on Dec. 5, 2002, when other outlets played it as a non-event. And a chilling call was the Kennywood macroburst on May 31, 2002. Forty-five minutes before it happened, I told my news director and producer that a tornado was possible. ... It was the first and only time I was scared by imminent weather.

Biggest miss? It's the little things that go wrong that give me a headache. For example, when I call for a snowfall at night and I wake up to find that the snow didn't start yet or that it changed to freezing rain, now, that hurts.

Forecasting -- art or science? It's definitely a blend of both. I've been trained in the science, and there's no better tool than experience. But many times, I have an internal sense about the weather. My wife sometimes says I'm psychic. You can't be an alarmist when it comes to forecasting. My motto is to tell people what I know.

If it's a science, how accurate should viewers expect you to be? Summertime forecasting is much easier than during the winter months, so accuracy levels can change during the course of the year. But my viewers should expect average accuracy levels of 80-90 percent in the 48-hour period. Of course, the five-day forecasts are harder. You should expect around 70 percent accuracy.

Vacation ruined by weather, blame? On my wedding day, the sunny sky turned showery just as we entered the chapel for the ceremony. And our honeymoon in Bermuda was peppered by episodes of heavy rainfall. ... My wife likes to say the clouds love me and they follow me and shower me with their love wherever we go.

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