The forecast was cloudy at 67 degrees but WABC-TV weatherman Bill Evans brought a bit of celebrity sunshine to kids in Secaucus on May 16. Fifth and sixth graders in the school district gathered at Huber Street Elementary Schools for an assembly to hear Evans speak. A senior meteorologist for Eyewitness News, Evans has been talking to school kids about his work and the weather for 35 years.
Evans talked about meteorology, his experiences as a weatherman, and the various types of careers available in his field. He also promoted his latest children’s book, “It’s Raining Fish and Spiders,” which came out on May 22.
“You are our future meteorologists.” – Bill Evans
Real world lessons
“I wanted to be a meteorologist when I was your age,” said Evans. Evans began his broadcasting career at the age of 13 in his hometown of Meridian, Miss. on WDAL Radio and WTOK-TV.
He told the students that he pursued meteorology because he wanted to help people after living through a hurricane at the age of nine.
“Our town was destroyed by a hurricane in 1969,” said Evans. “That incident in my life made me want to be a meteorologist and help people.” He chose a different path from his father, grandfather, and great grandfather who had all been in the clergy.
“I just didn’t see myself as being a minister,” said Evans.
“I help you get dressed for school. I let you know if there is going to be a snow day,” said Evans. “I help you protect yourself from the weather and tell you if there is going to be lightning or a hurricane.”
Exploring the world of meteorology
“Lightning is the size of your pencil,” said Evans. “Even though it has a billion volts of energy in it, it is still very small, bright, and brilliant.”
Evans also showed a number of images of his own experiences and the far-flung places he has been to do the weather. He showed images from the eye of a hurricane, scuba diving, and out west chasing tornadoes. He often does weather on-location all over the Tri-state area, Florida, and the Caribbean.
Evans showed images of meteorologists on naval ships, on a financial trading floor, in airplanes, and in the pursuit of tornadoes.
“There are more things to do career-wise in weather as meteorologists than you might think,” said Evans. He said more meteorologists are needed, especially women, since men dominate the field.
“You are our future meteorologists,” said Evans. “If you like weather, that is the road to take.”
Meteorologists in the making
Some girls at the assembly may just help shift the balance in the field of meteorology. As part of an accelerated learning program referred to as Elinc, or “Educating Learners in the Next Century,” students explored the world of meteorology and learned about clouds, hurricanes, tornados, and how the weather works.
“It is kind of interesting to become a meteorologist because we can over time…learn how to predict different weather,” said eleven-year old Nisha Patel, who said she may pursue the field.
“Cumulonimbus clouds, the big puffy clouds that are high up,” said Patel about a topic she enjoyed learning about.
Eleven-year-old Christina Morano, who wants to be a newscaster, was excited about the Evans visit.
“I’m a big fan of news. I watch it all the time,” said eleven-year-old Christina Morano. She gave a number of reasons why watching the weather helps her including being prepared to face the day.
“It is good to know the weather for safety reasons.”
“I think it is interesting how he has learned over many years to predict weather,” said fifth grader Jack Hayes about Evans.
“If I see clouds, I feel happy to know what kind of clouds I know they are,” said Lee.
“I wanted students to know what it is like in the life of a meteorologist from someone in the real world,” said educator Allan Bonin. Bonin, an educator of 11 years, teaches the Elinc accelerated learning classes to fifth and sixth graders at Huber Street Elementary School. Bonin had emailed and called WABC since November to get Evans to visit the school district.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.