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

Up to softball sized #hail fell in Missouri on Saturday. Look how high they bounce! #MOwx https://t.co/63Hjuurt85

46 minutes ago by WeatherNation

Happy Sunday! A look at today's high temperatures: https://t.co/xN0B1Wihg8

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

Say it ain't snow! It ain't snow! It's cotton of all things! Strong winds made cotton float through the air over… https://t.co/aGHxHWk7ga

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

A severe thunderstorm watch is in place for the Birmingham and Atlanta metro areas until 11:00AM est. #SevereWx https://t.co/nFuLaPf2vo

5 hours ago by WeatherNation

The storms that moved through the central U.S. SAT evening might have been severe, but the cloud formations are tru… https://t.co/vqaNApxPfB

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

Severe storms make their way through the Music City Saturday evening. Active weather will continue through the nig… https://t.co/vhTp25GlhO

13 hours ago by WeatherNation

A severe thunderstorm and tornado watch stretch about 1,500 miles from Colorado to the Atlantic this evening. Stay… https://t.co/bGf1RZmrob

14 hours ago by WeatherNation

Severe storms continue to make their way through the central U.S. Be sure to stay weather aware throughout this ho… https://t.co/7tf1MLBOtm

16 hours ago by WeatherNation

We're live covering the severe weather this evening. Stay safe. #ItsWhatWeDo https://t.co/4HvPwrpJtR https://t.co/LRddqA9FlJ

17 hours ago by WeatherNation

Hail this afternoon has been as large as 4.25" thick (grapefruit size) in Missouri! This video shows pea size hail… https://t.co/9Tn7T9Lwl8

17 hours ago by WeatherNation

Severe storms are moving through Missouri now. Hope all the boaters are safe after this storm blew over Lake of the… https://t.co/Vp5o6a1kvv

18 hours ago by WeatherNation

Heading to the beach this holiday weekend? Learn more about the dangers of #RipCurrents & how to stay safe. READ:… https://t.co/x2m5YKRWIs

20 hours ago by WeatherNation

A flash flood watch is in effect until 7am Sunday morning for parts of Missouri & Kansas. #KSwx #MOwx https://t.co/6JyF2otIcB

20 hours ago by WeatherNation

#TORNADO WATCH: Until 7 pm CT for portions of far eastern KS and southern MO. Be weather aware! #MOwx #KSwx https://t.co/SqEon5WYUs

21 hours ago by WeatherNation

#ShelfCloud in Cornhusker Territory Saturday morning #storms looked a bit ominous as they passed over eastern Nebra… https://t.co/IiRTYPfyhB

22 hours ago by WeatherNation

What's your favorite kind of weather for a long holiday weekend? #ItsWhatWeDo

23 hours ago by WeatherNation

Have you ever witnessed the propagation of a #shelfcloud? Here's a timelapse to show you the awesome motion. #COwx https://t.co/7rEHHR5jFz

23 hours ago by WeatherNation
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