John Van Pelt

Field Correspondent

John started his career in radio as a part-timer at several stations in Raleigh, NC while in high school and college. His first fulltime job took him to Myrtle Beach, SC, where in 1979, he went through the preparations for and coverage of Hurricane David as it raked the Grand Strand. That spurred his interest in severe weather and disaster preparedness. After returning to Raleigh and NC State University, he continued in radio for several years, before becoming a Macintosh consultant, specializing in digital audio and video creation & editing.

Becoming an Amateur Radio operator for the specific purpose of joining the National Weather Service Skywarn volunteer program, he was involved in several ‘World’s Firsts’, with the first 24/7 wireless mobile weather webcam in 1999 and the first 24/7 mobile wireless weather station in 2001.

From hurricanes, with the help of fellow Ham, Danny Musten, John initiated the first Internet Radio Linking Project (voip) report to the National Hurricane Center, with a portable ham radio from Hurricane Lili, in 2002. He also originated the first EchoLink (voip) hurricane report from a vehicle-based laptop and wireless AirCard, from Hurricane Wilma to the NHC in 2005.

He worked as an on-air consultant, with CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and numerous local TV affiliates during hurricane season from 2002-2005 and was the on-camera weather conditions consultant for MSNBC’s coverage of the Space Shuttle’s Return to Flight mission in ’05.

In 2007 and 2008 he was Energizer’s national spokesman for their ‘Plan. Prepare. Protect’ initiative, supporting family preparedness education through school and children’s club visits with “The Bunny”, national satellite media tours, appearing in millions of households from the National Hurricane Conference and online content creation.

His passion for reporting accurate conditions and preparedness information from the field continues to be an important personal commitment at WeatherNation.

Q&A with John Van Pelt

What is your most memorable weather experience?
My most surprising event was the Thanksgiving weekend F4 tornado in Raleigh in 1988. It formed around 1 in the morning, killed four people and was on the ground for 84 miles! My most memorable storm though, was Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Twelve hours before landfall near Gulf Shores, AL, the storm's surge was already over-topping the dunes and flooding the beach front. Later, surge reached over 15 feet and was still chest-deep a mile and a half inland 12 hours after landfall. I truly saw the power of storm surge firsthand and it was amazing.
Outside of weather what are your hobbies and life interests?
I'm a tech geek, enjoy Sci Fi movies and lately, I'm a documentary junkie.
Besides your parents who has influenced you the most in your life?
One of my biggest influences was my Junior High shop teacher, Mr, Maddrey. He was also in charge of the A/V department. So besides learning about just about every technology and 'industrial art' then, I became the "Head A/V assistant" for years, so yeah, I could thread a projector, set up a PA system and rock the school from an early age.
What is a little known fact about you?
I'm an ex-number-one radio morning man AND when I'm not on the air, I sport long, flowing blond hair.
What are your hopes and dreams for the profession of weather?
I want to continue to use the best technologies possible to gather and disseminate timely and accurate data, advice and warnings to keep the public safer and better informed through every medium available to us.

Tweets

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT - This was just one of several tornadoes on the ground on Thursday. See more photos/video her… https://t.co/0ZMAQYcWdR

46 minutes ago by WeatherNation

The flooding in #McAllen today came after a week of wet weather, but also from a record amount of rain for the day… https://t.co/tqqmxdd3Mo

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

TEXAS FLOODING - This is one way to get around flooded spots! The threat for flooding continues across the southern… https://t.co/yu5UQDbQ8d

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

TOP VIDEO OF THE WEEK - Check out this sped up progression of the tornado that moved through Stoddard County, MO on… https://t.co/ozOaM5l6F2

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

ANOTHER LOOK - Here's a second view of the stovepipe tornado that moved through Missouri earlier today! #mowx https://t.co/y6gR5GCFS6

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

Confirmed tornado: Several people in southeast Missouri saw this tornado earlier in the evening (around 6:20 p.m. T… https://t.co/BwVMQDMWO2

5 hours ago by WeatherNation

This tornado yesterday in Perry, Iowa has officially been rated an EF-0 with max winds around 80 mph and no injurie… https://t.co/yUiSyxNfaa

5 hours ago by WeatherNation

We hope this man is okay after numerous reports of submerged cars in McAllen, TX. This is one of many communities u… https://t.co/BlqxcwurQJ

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

Here's an awesome capture by @jeffmorrisAR in northeast Arkansas of a tornado-warned storm earlier today. #ARwx https://t.co/kAYPl1OxbW

7 hours ago by WeatherNation

There's another area to watch for development in the Eastern Pacific, continuing an active start to the season ther… https://t.co/8hQcLWRfqX

7 hours ago by WeatherNation

CAUGHT ON CAMERA - Check out this eerie video of a tornado near Darlington, ID earlier today...watch as at the end… https://t.co/cB1k8Q1MDc

8 hours ago by WeatherNation

Texas Governor @GregAbbott_TX has announced a disaster declaration for 6 counties in Texas. Meteorologists at… https://t.co/yT3Kg8nkNw

8 hours ago by WeatherNation

RT @NWSDesMoines: We surveyed minor tornado damage just west of Perry this morning. Rated EF0 with mainly sporadic tree and crop damage. No…

8 hours ago by WeatherNation

EARLIER TODAY - At least one tornado confirmed near Yates City, IL Thursday afternoon...with an continued threat fo… https://t.co/GPH1E0bA85

9 hours ago by WeatherNation

Wow, that's a lot of rainfall in Texas this week so far... #TXwx https://t.co/FYwLcu2yw5

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

#BREAKING: Severe T-Storm Watch has been issued for parts of the Central U.S. through 9 PM CDT. https://t.co/ZOw6O98z5E

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

Feels a bit chilly across the Northeast on this first day of summer! You can thank the "Back Door Cold Front" for t… https://t.co/OLRlU4znGC

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

STATE OF EMERGENCY declared for @CityofMcAllen by Mayor Jim Darling due to severe flooding. #McAllen #TXwx https://t.co/yh1RjBoqU2

10 hours ago by WeatherNation
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