1/16/2020
FLASH originated the National Weatherperson of the Year award to coincide with the celebration of National Weatherperson’s Day on February 5, the birthday of the pioneering weather observer John Jeffries. After a decade of research on the ground, Jefferies piloted a hot air balloon in 1774 to test weather conditions and advance the science of meteorology. His work paved the way for many aspects of meteorology today.

The leaders we honor through this award are truly exceptional with a proven record of protecting the public from severe weather. Past winners include Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, former National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield, Chief Meteorologist KABB Alex Garcia, Hurricane Expert & Tropical Program Manager, The Weather Channel Dr. Richard Knabb, Ada Monzón, Meteorologist, AMS Fellow - CBM-WIPR-TV Puerto Rico, and James Spann, Chief Meteorologist at ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, AL.
The 2020 National Weatherperson of the Year five finalists demonstrate a commitment to disaster safety, education, and to the safety of their communities. The 2020 finalists are:

Group Nomination - "NOAA’s National Weather Service Incident Meteorologists (IMETS)

Larry Van Bussum (National Weather Service, National Interagency Fire Center, Boise) - As the NWS National Fire Weather Operations Coordinator, Van Bussum manages the IMET program. During the 2017-2019 wildfires seasons, Van Bussum managed nearly 500 missions/deployments involving over 85 IMETs. He has also served as an IMET for 20 years. 

Alex Hoon (National Weather Service Reno) - In 2018 Hoon worked the Carr Fire, producing timely early wind forecasts/warnings that ensured safe evacuation ahead of a catastrophe wind event that destroyed more than 1,000 homes. An unprecedented fire whirl of 143 mph was observed at this fire. He also worked the Camp Fire which nearly destroyed the town of Paradise, California. In 2019, Hoon worked the Kincade Fire. Hoon has been deployed 24 times in his 8-year career as an IMET. 

Rich Thompson (National Weather Service Oxnard) - Deployed to the Getty Fire in 2019, the critical fire threat lead to the unprecedented shut off of power to prevent wildfires that can start when wind gusts knock down power lines. Thompson has been deployed to 57 fires in his 13-year career as an IMET.

Jeff Tonkin (National Weather Service Eureka) - Jeff has been deployed to 56 fires in his 16-year career as an IMET. Notable incidents include the Redwood Complex, Lime Complex, Hells Half Complex, and MEU Complex.  Due to the extreme and extensive fire activity within Eureka’s area of responsibility numerous incident meteorologists (IMET) IMET Jeff Tonkin was dispatched to 3 separate incidents in 2018 totaling 50 days.

Ryan Walbrun (National Weather Service Monterey) - Worked the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in California history and the Kincaid Fire which threatened the town of Santa Rosa, California. Ryan has been deployed 49 times in his 15-year career as an IMET."

What the fans are saying:
Every year, the National Weather Service (NWS) deploys Incident Meteorologists (IMETs) to provide weather support to agencies who prevent and fight wildfires. To become an IMET, NWS meteorologists must record over 250 hours of specialized training in microscale and complex terrain meteorology. These brave men and women keep their portable weather equipment and camping bags packed, ready to be deployed within 24 hours to an incident as the onsite weather expert. Once onsite they typically stay for two weeks and work 16+ hour days briefing emergency managers and fire managers on critical weather conditions while sometimes putting their own lives at risk.

The wildfires of 2017-2019 were particularly devastating for the Western United States, especially California. In California, wildfires burned more than 250,000 acres in 2019; nearly 2 million acres in 2018; and 1.5 million acres in 2017. Many more people would have died without the help of the NWS IMETs. IMETs provided crucial weather information to emergency managers to help them decide areas to evacuate. They also worked closely with firefighters to plan crew movements based on potential weather hazardous, such as wind shifts, wind speed and other factors. The tactical information provided by IMETs is so crucial to firefighting operations that it is mandatory for all Type 1 incidents and most Type 2 incidents request one as well to ensure the safety of their personnel.
 
Alan Sealls - Chief Meteorologist WPMI, NBC 15, Mobile-Pensacola-Ft Walton Beach
Alan is a ten-time Emmy award winner. He has won "Best Weather Anchor" from the Alabama Associated Press Broadcasters Association four times. He has also won a national award from the American Meteorological Society in 2009 for a series on climate change. Since then, he has won the “Best Weathercaster in the State” twice from the Alabama Broadcaster's Association, and he has won a “Best-In-State” award for his retrospective on Hurricane Ivan.

In 2017 Reddit.com users voted him “Best Weatherman Ever” after one of his weather segments on Hurricane Irma went viral on social media. Lagniappe Newspaper readers voted Alan “Best Meteorologist in Mobile” four years in a row. He recently won the 2019 AMS Award for Broadcast Meteorology for a career of science education to the public and to his peers. Alan has also received numerous community service awards for the last three decades.

What the fans are saying:
A number of commenters praised Sealls' calm, patient demeanor during Hurricane Irma, likening his delivery to Bob Ross or Mr. Rogers. The clips attracted news coverage from The Washington Post who named him the “Best Weatherman ever.” 
  
Joe Snedeker - Meteorologist, WNEP Channel 16 - Scranton PA
Known for his creative forecasts, Meteorologist Joe Snedeker, offers some of the industry’s most original forecasts. He is known for his forecasts that contain a unique blend of scientific facts, pop culture references, random objects flying around weather maps and even characters.
Joe graduated from Millersville University with and Earth and Space Science degree and then received a master’s degree in Biology/Environmental Science from East Stroudsburg University.

Every year, Joe holds the Go Joe 22 charity bike ride that raises money for St. Joseph' s Center which helps disabled children and adults.

What the fans are saying:
Joe delivers the most pertinent/accurate weather forecasts with a bit of humor. His accurate reporting of dangerous weather conditions has no doubt saved many lives.  Watching him every day starts my morning off with a smile. He is a self-proclaimed weather geek that loves to share his knowledge with the rest of us. He also gives back to the community every year by doing a 500-mile bike ride to raise money for St. Joe’s, a facility for the mentally and physically challenged. He is an inspiration!!!!

I have never in my 42 years ever wanted to tune in to the weather so eagerly until I moved to NEPA and got a taste of Joe. He is hilariously entertaining while doing an amazing job of educating his viewers. He also does the selfless act of riding a bike hundreds of miles every year to raise money for St. Joseph's Center. He is not your everyday, run of the mill, weather person. He really puts so much time and effort into his report and makes every single day a new and fresh delivery. And waking up to, "It's a great day to be alive! Make it a good one! " does not hurt either. He's really remarkable and I just love watching him do the weather and “Wam Cam” where he goes out in the community looking for answers to the questions, we didn't even know we wanted.
 
McCall Vrydaghs - Chief Meteorologist WHIO TV Dayton OH 
McCall Vrydaghs was named Chief Meteorologist of WHIO's Storm Center 7 team of Meteorologists on November 19, 2018. Vrydaghs joined the team in 2012 and earned the coveted Certified Broadcast Meteorologist seal from the American Meteorological Society due to her proven track record in tracking severe storms and winter weather in the Miami Valley.

McCall holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology from SUNY Oswego, New York. Soon after graduation she joined CNN Headline News Radio and jumped to television as the weekend meteorologist for Verizon FiOS1 News.

She has received the Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and placed second in the Ohio Regional APME Awards for ‘Best Weathercast’ and was nominated for the 2016 Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards in the category for weather.
 
What the fans are saying:
She saved my family's lives and thousands of others on the night of May 27 when 17 tornadoes struck the Miami Valley. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and thousands more damaged.  The tornadoes ranged from EF0 to EF4.  Only 1 person was killed.  McCall's persistence and professionalism made it clear that this was not a drill and that the danger was imminent.  She saved many lives that night.  Ohio residents tend to ignore tornado warnings because they rarely come to fruition.  May 27 was the "perfect storm" situation. Her descriptions of what was happening brought to a level that ordinary people could understand, caused people to believe they were in danger and take cover.  We would have been killed when the roof and walls collapsed, and it was the same for hundreds of others.  Heeding her warning caused us to go to the basement, and we (4 adults, 2 children and 3 dogs) were all safe.  When we emerged from the basement, most of the house was gone.  That scene was multiplied all across the Miami Valley

McCall Vrydaghs from WHIO-TV-Channel 7 in Dayton, Ohio.  She saved hundreds of lives with her concise reporting DURING the touchdown of an EF-4 plus over 10 other confirmed area tornadoes in the area on May 27th. 
 
Weatherboy – Online and Radio
Weatherboy is the cumulative effort of a team of people from Miami to Denver to Hawaii who are passionate about connecting people with the world of weather. You can find Weatherboy on television, radio, in print, or online. While he appears online as a happy-go-lucky young weather enthusiast, he is very serious about the weather.
The well-known Weatherboy character has roots to one of our founding meteorologists, made famous on national television in the 1990s. Since then, Weatherboy has appeared on countless television and radio programs. Weatherboy continues to leverage new technology to connect with audiences. Whether it's a sizeable presence with Snapchat or an audience that watches live streams from their aerial photography drones, they are committed to connecting people of all ages with valuable, actionable weather information.

What the fans are saying:
Weatherboy by far is the best! He has been the most accurate and more importantly it’s has been the most reliable forecast of them all! Not only are the posts full of information but the communication directly from him is awesome!!! Weatherboy is now my only weather source!!!!

Weatherboy He is very accurate with his forecast and he cares about everyone. He keeps us safe from hazardous weather and keeps up updated on earthquakes and tsunamis.

Great website and live broadcasts that do more than just tell the weather and keep us safe. They also teach us about the weather to make us smarter!

Weather boy weather accurate to the point in many areas of weather systems patterns and taking an interest for everyone's safety in dangerous weather conditions.


 

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