Awards & Accreditations
Six time Wyoming Association Best Weather Award: 2006-2013
Bachelor of Arts and Sciences with an emphasis in Meteorology from University of Northern Colorado
I was Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and lived the first 11 years of my life in Elkhorn, outside of Omaha. Living in Nebraska I learned very quickly what it is like to be a Nebraska Cornhusker football fan as well as to have respect for weather and the power of tornadoes. I moved to Colorado when I was 12 and lived in a small town called Castle Rock, which is no longer a small town haha. There I was an All State Football player and excelled in athletics and mathematics. At Douglas County High School, I met many great friends before heading off to Mesa State College in Grand Junction. I attended Mesa State on a football scholarship before transferring to the University of Northern Colorado. At UNC, I discovered my interest in Forecasting Meteorology and my interest peaked in natural earth phenomena. I received a Major in Meteorology and a minor in Speech Communications in 2002. There are many paths a meteorologist can take after they graduate, but I decided with my personality that I should try my luck as a broadcast Meteorologist. I landed a job in Casper, Wyoming working as a morning Meteorologist and anchor for KCWY News 13, a new NBC Station. After a year and a half, I was promoted to Chief Meteorologist at KCWY. I love dogs as well as most pets and have had many over the years!
Q&A with Joel Barnes
What inspired you to become a meteorologist and pursue a career as an on-air weather caster?
I have always been blown away by the forces mother nature can exert on the planet from tornadoes to volcanoes and hurricanes to earthquakes. Growing up in Omaha, tornadoes were always a common topic and the unpredictable nature and power they carry, always captivated me. After the first time storm chasing in college, I knew I was hooked and decided being an on air meteorologist would best suit my personality. Being on air also would allow me to share my excitement and knowledge of storms with the rest of the world.
What is your most memorable weather experience?
On my first trip storm chasing, my meteorologist friend Matt Grzych and I were out chasing and wanting to see a tornado so badly that we drove through a small rain wrapped tornado. It was quite scary and I even think one of us screamed as we drove through it.
Outside of weather what are your hobbies and life interests?
I am a big Denver Sports fan! I root for the Rockies, Avalanche, Nuggets and Broncos. I played college football as a cornerback and punt returner. I'm also am a big fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Growing up near Lincoln makes you automatically part of the Big Red Nation!
Besides your parents who has influenced you the most in your life?
I had several coaches and some teachers in High School and College that helped shape me a bit but I have always been a self motivator. I hate to lose. I am actually a really sore loser! So wanting to win and succeed at things was a direct result.
What is a little known fact about you?
I am an avid Texas Hold-em player and hope to play in the WSOP someday!
What are your hopes and dreams for the profession of weather?
I hope to bring a smile to people's faces and make people feel like I am more of a friend then just a forecaster. I want to be someone that my viewers can not only trust with a reliable forecast but also trust to bring a smile to their faces after a long day.