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

This was the scene today in Johnston County, NC where prolonged #rain has #flooded streets. Photo from Kiya Rice.… https://t.co/jFZaESpenA

1 hour ago by WeatherNation

Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights, light up the New Zealand skies - https://t.co/stZPIEI1LE https://t.co/q45vOTrqnb

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What's your favorite weather day? #April25th https://t.co/zRRIvgC7pf

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NASA Astronaut Robert Kimbrough is no Julia Child but his PB&J is still pretty stellar How to Make a PB&J in Space… https://t.co/akFRtrGXI6

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

Winter seems far from over in portions of the West and Upper Midwest with snow and ice ahead -… https://t.co/5smCw6Ttgx

5 hours ago by WeatherNation

For more information on the flooding in @RaleighGov, check here: https://t.co/Su80lSoA9V

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

Downtown @RaleighGov is seeing major flooding with a Flash Flood Emergency in place earlier Tuesday morning.… https://t.co/lfjJimwQsk

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

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

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

Finally, a needed soaking rain in the Sunshine State. #FLwx https://t.co/8McZkuDDYd https://t.co/AZfMcvEoma

16 hours ago by WeatherNation

Heavy rain came down in #SaltLakeCity Monday. But the rain could be turning over to #Snow by the end of the week.… https://t.co/JpDEwZtTWK

17 hours ago by WeatherNation

Another dry day across #Florida. Wild fires continue to burn, but it wasn't all bad; check out these #Birds smilin… https://t.co/XNSDGhNULe

19 hours ago by WeatherNation

Flooding today in Charleston, SC. Much dryer times ahead this week. Thanks @johnorrccim . https://t.co/WEqRJ7eGxs https://t.co/VGI1tqYMQq

19 hours ago by WeatherNation

A new 90 day forecast has been issued by the @NWSCPC. It has warmer than normal weather across much of the nation… https://t.co/Jmf3QmKj1l

23 hours ago by WeatherNation

A construction crane fell into the Holston River in Weber City, VA as heavy rain fell and flooding hit the area.… https://t.co/DGkNDkik5s

24 April by WeatherNation

More than 7" of rain has fallen in parts of the Mid Atlantic, producing flooding problems. More rain ahead tonight… https://t.co/CKostOfJYa

24 April by WeatherNation

Florida Wildfires Continue to Rage With the Weather Bringing Relief to Some. Details: https://t.co/A6wbFmZ0HP https://t.co/hHaleD71Hm

24 April by WeatherNation

Heavy rains brought flooding across parts of Tennessee. This out of the Fountain City neighborhood in Knoxville. 🎥… https://t.co/PRu4RJyv6A

24 April by WeatherNation

Winter seems far from over in portions of the West and High Plains with snow continuing to fall -… https://t.co/ClPlcwmnpi

24 April by WeatherNation
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