Kara James

Meteorologist, CBM

Awards & Accreditations

Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, American Meteorological Society

Education

University of Oklahoma, Bachelors of Science in Meteorology
Mississippi State University, Masters of Science in Meteorology

Kara has always been passionate about weather and knew from an early age that she wanted to become a meteorologist. Living in different regions of the country and experiencing weather events ranging from ice storms to tornadoes drove her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. Throughout college, storm chasing became a regular event for Kara, where she saw first-hand the power of the atmosphere. Kara graduated cum laude from OU and decided to further her meteorology education with a Master’s degree from Mississippi State University. The deadly April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak struck while Kara was studying at MSU; her first “Dixie Alley” tornado event and an up close glimpse into the destruction of the storms she so closely studied. Her broadcast career began in Elvis’ birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi, where she earned her Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society. Kara’s career has included coverage of all types of severe weather including tornado events, flooding and tropical systems across multiple southern states. Recently she helped cover the 2020 Easter Sunday deadly tornado outbreak in southeast Mississippi. In her free time, you can find Kara outdoors exploring new areas with her mini poodle,Truffles. Kara is also an avid runner and frequently races in 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons.

Q&A with Kara James

What inspired you to become a meteorologist?
I’ve always known I wanted to be a meteorologist! Growing up in central Indiana there was never a shortage of storms! Storms fascinated me, especially tornadoes. I read as many books about thunderstorms and tornadoes as I could as a child and of course watched endless storm coverage on TV. When a tornado moved through my town overnight and I saw the damage to my elementary school the next day, I knew I wanted to become a meteorologist.
What is your most memorable weather experience?
My most memorable weather experience was seeing my first tornado while stormchasing in college. My group of friends in college did our own forecast, figured out the area to target, mapped a route and planned for storm initiation before driving several hours into the Texas panhandle. It was so awesome having that forecast verify-feeling the winds, seeing the storm put down the tornado and looking at the radar. Experiencing a tornado form in front of me (safely and from a distance) in real life helped connect the learning and equations with actual weather. That first tornado is a special memory!
Outside of weather, what are your hobbies and interests?
Outside of weather you can find me hanging out with my mini poodle, Truffles. I also enjoy running, swimming and leading an active lifestyle and volunteering at animal shelters.
What inspired you to become a meteorologist?
All of the broadcast meteorologists I interned with when I was younger were very inspirational and I did a lot of internships! They showed me what to really expect going into this career and gave me pointers on how to best achieve my dream. The women meteorologists I interned under were particularly helpful with career advice, especially since there weren’t nearly as many women broadcast meteorologists then as there are now. I hope to be a mentor to other young women who want to become broadcast meteorologists to pay it forward.
What is a little known fact about you?
A little known fact about me is that I did competitive gymnastics when I was younger and founded the gymnastics team at my high school.
What are your hopes and dreams for the profession of weather?
My hope and dream for the profession of weather is that technology and forecast ability will evolve to pinpoint exact formation and timing of tornadoes and other dangerous weather hours before it happens. Serving viewers better by communicating exactly when and where dangerous weather will occur will help save lives. In the meantime, my goal is to deliver the most accurate forecast and impact information as possible to be a trusted source during inclement weather.
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