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

An updated look at #wind concerns for the West Coast heading into Monday morning: https://t.co/jLOYV39uE4

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

Freezing rain accumulated to 1/4"+ in a few spots in the Northeast on Sunday: #NJwx #PAwx https://t.co/YwpQ9RNV3T

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

If you missed hitting the slopes this weekend, here's a video from a ski lift to help you feel like you didn't.… https://t.co/tXEqNOmT3T

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

Running away from the cold for the holidays? If you're heading to Miami, well, :) #FLwx https://t.co/zIjjKTqkT9

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

Powerful storms continue to slam the West Coast and this will lead to high surf through the week. https://t.co/bNCLlIaI3t

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

It's now officially Roanoke, VA's wettest year on record! #VAwx https://t.co/GTB7J4YdOf

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

The temperature will feel like it's zero degrees in spots! #Winter https://t.co/4ftXI3axzh

8 hours ago by WeatherNation

PARADE OF STORMS: Yet another set of alerts to add to a growing list. Multiple storms will hit the northwest into n… https://t.co/JLn6U3Vivu

9 hours ago by WeatherNation

Rain will be moving out of the Philadelphia area shortly, here's the soggy view from earlier. https://t.co/VW5tyEXPge

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

The morning rush in Maine could be tricky - give yourself extra time as you head on into work tomorrow! #MEwx https://t.co/MCcvfW1Utm

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

🚗🚘HEADS UP COMMUTERS! 🚘🚗 #Fog will greet you on the roadways Monday morning. Visibility will begin to drop after m… https://t.co/dnEzEbL7vv

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

Snow and ice will be a concern just outside of the big cities overnight tonight and into Monday AM: #MAwx #PAwxhttps://t.co/kTM8kPbAOA

11 hours ago by WeatherNation

Washington D.C. is at its wettest year on record - already over two inches over its previous high mark from 1889:… https://t.co/qoVjcOsp63

12 hours ago by WeatherNation

BUZZ WORD: Atmospheric Rivers. They're expected to bring heavy rain and snow to the west, but do you know what the… https://t.co/A0cQR1swcq

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

Gorgeous sunrise this morning in Greers Ferry, AR!☀️ https://t.co/LPDf1yKa1r

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

Check out this incredible morning satellite view of swollen rivers in South Carolina. Recent heavy rains and snow m… https://t.co/lwTxSeZAK7

15 hours ago by WeatherNation

Freezing Fog took over lower Michigan today. Making for some pretty pictures from @NWSGaylord , but dangerous road… https://t.co/7AGCuE7Qm6

15 hours ago by WeatherNation

Soggy weather continues for the northwest! Stay dry! https://t.co/JELGVKdclR https://t.co/qsUS78IctU

16 hours ago by WeatherNation

With Denver staying well above their average high, this dog is staying cool up in the mountains! ⛰️ ❄️ https://t.co/eHMvvtyzSS

17 hours ago by WeatherNation
Follow Us