She Visits Schools Throughout the Year, Sharing Her Expertise in Weather & Providing Words of Wisdom to Students. Meet Miami’s Local 10 Chief Certified Meteorologist, Betty Davis


Q: When did you decide to be a meteorologist?
I decided to become a meteorologist after doing an internship at a television station In Macon, Georgia. I was an intern in the news department, thinking I would graduate college and become a news reporter. During that internship, I was enamored by what I saw the station meteorologist doing on the green screen and I was intrigued by the fact that he had knowledge of a subject (weather) that no one else in the newsroom seemed to have. I thought, hmmm … I wonder if I could do that? 

Q: How much data do you look at when developing a weather forecast?
I look at as much data as I possibly can, forecast models (GFS, ECMWF, HRRR), current conditions, satellite and radar imagery, water vapor imagery-- as much data as I feel necessary to figure out how the weather is going to behave short-term and over the next 7 days.

Q: How long does it take to come up with a forecast?
I try to come up with a forecast in about 30 minutes. After 10+ years of forecasting the weather for South Florida, I have a routine. Some days are more challenging than others, especially during hurricane season. I have to watch the clock carefully to make sure I am ready and present in the studio for the newscast. 

Q: Is there any pressure to get the forecast right for big holiday weekends when people make plans dependent upon the weather?
Everyday, there is pressure to get the forecast right. I do feel a little extra weight on my shoulders when it’s a big holiday weekend or big event happening. Forecasting for South Florida is tricky, especially during the rainy season. It’s no easy task communicating to people where thunderstorms will set up, how far east or west the thunderstorms will move, how much rain they will dump, and what time they will die down.

Q: Can you share with our audience one of your most memorable weather events you’ve covered?
My most memorable weather event is Hurricane Irma. It made landfall in September 2017 at Cudjoe Key, Florida. That was the first “big” hurricane I covered as Chief Meteorologist for WPLG Local10 and I had the privilege of guiding South Florida through that hurricane alongside our Hurricane Specialist at the time, Max Mayfield, former Director of the National Hurricane Center.

Q: Is there one season of the year that's easier or harder to forecast?
Rainy season is definitely more challenging than dry season. Then of course, there’s hurricane season. I have two words for you: forecast cone.

Q: How many times are you out in public and have people come up and complain about or ask you questions about the weather?
Fortunately, I don’t get too many complaints when I am out in public. People, generally, are very nice when they approach me. Sometimes they have a story to tell about a weather event that impacted their lives. Or, they just want to say hello and express appreciation.

Q: Do you get an adrenaline rush when all those watches and warnings start popping up?
When watches and warnings start popping, I get an adrenaline rush and sometimes feel slightly nervous, and maybe a tad stressed. I am so eager to make sure I communicate to viewers everything they need to know. Things can happen fast when there is active weather. There is no script for me. I have to adlib everything, so I don’t want to miss a beat. Making sure my messaging is on point makes my heart pump a little faster sometimes.

Q: Do you have any advice you can share for those women who may want to pursue a career as a Meteorologist? 
My advice to women who want to pursue a career as a Meteorologist is: Go for it! You have just as much right to have a voice and place in this profession as anyone else. And remember, you don’t have to be on television to be a meteorologist. You can work as a meteorologist in other sectors.

Q: What is a typical day like for you? 
A typical day for me can be … well … crazy! I wake up around 8 a.m. I get in a quick workout. I start my breakfast. When I can, I start and finish dinner for my family. However, if I have an event to attend before work, I usually do not have time to make dinner. If I have errands to run, I run errands. I eat breakfast between 11:00 a.m. and noon. I try to find the time to do some reading, check social media, get a feel for what is happening in the weather world and the world at large. Then, I get ready for work. I will make an effort to arrive at the station by 2p.m., no later than 2:30p.m.—but it all depends on what I need to accomplish before work. I start looking at forecast data as soon as I walk in the door. I collaborate with other meteorologists in the office and get ready for my weather segments. At 4p.m., the news starts. I am on air at 4p.m., 5p.m. and 6p.m. on WPLG Local10. If the weather is quiet, I take a dinner break away from the station. Thankfully, I live close enough to my job to dash home and grab a bite and make sure my family has not destroyed the house, LOL! Then I come back to work to get ready for the news at 10pm on WSFL-TV. After that, it’s the news at 11pm on WPLG Local10. I usually get to bed between 12:30a.m. and 1 a.m. I wake up the next morning and do it all over again. On a side note, if a hurricane is coming I am basically tethered to the tv station, working a “12 on, 12 off” shift.

Q: Tell us how you manage your work life balance with your busy schedule.
I try to always put my family first. They know the demands of my career and we make everything work within those demands. While I am at work or running around in the community, my husband makes sure our youngest son is where he needs to be—whether it is a doctor’s appointment, soccer practice, basketball game. Having an understanding, extremely supportive spouse helps me keep some semblance of a work life balance. It certainly helps that he is not in the tv business!

Eight Things About Meteorologist Betty Davis

1. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
I would share a meal with Jesus Christ, Harriet Tubman and both my grandfathers. I can only imagine the conversation over the first course.

2. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?
When I was a kid I watched The Cosby Show, A Different World, Family Matters, Full House, and Hanging with Mr. Cooper

3. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I am a morning person. It is difficult for me to sleep past 9am. 

4. Favorite Dessert?
Chocolate cake

5. Do you read reviews, or just go with your gut?
I read reviews, especially when it comes to hotels and restaurants. 

6. What would your perfect Saturday be like? 
A perfect Saturday for me would be a day spent at home—house clean, laundry done, no meals to cook. I would not have to lift a finger. That is my idea of perfect!

7. Would you rather cook or order in?
I would rather cook. Cooking can be therapeutic. Plus, I like knowing exactly what is in my food. 

8. Cake or pie? 
I love a great dessert! I do not mind whipping up a pecan pie or sweet potato pie. But I admit, I am partial to cake. My mom makes a pineapple cake that I absolutely love. My mother-in-law bakes the most beautiful, delectable cakes. During the holidays, one of my favorite things to do is bake cakes with my mother-in-law.


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