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Hall of Fame inductees: Love of weather came early

February 2, 2011

Meteorologist Hall of Fame inductees Dr. Greg Forbes (second from left) and Elliot Abrams (fourth) join Inner Circle members John Griffiths (far left), Mike Johnston (center) and Bill Deeley in meeting Punxsutawney Phil Wednesday.

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The two newest inductees into the National Meteorologist Hall of Fame both found their love of weather as youngsters, and believe that today, young people have even better and open chances to pursue careers in the field of meteorology.

Wednesday, the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center welcomed Elliot Abrams, AccuWeather’s chief forecaster and senior vice-president, and Dr. Greg Forbes, The Weather Channel's severe weather expert, into its Hall of Fame, the fifth class to earn the distinction.

ellock, who inducted Abrams, said his first stint as a weather forecaster anywhere was in a play in second grade, subsequently followed by his classmates blaming him for bad weather. Actually, she said, his father, a research chemist, had built him a barometer at age five.

Meanwhile, Abrams' fellow inductee, Forbes — who was inducted by Jim Cassidy — said he knew he wanted to be a scientist, but was turned on to meteorology when a seventh-grade teachers introduced a weather module to the class.

As a meteorologist, "I knew I could make a forecast and see if I was wrong or right the next day," Forbes said. "It's not like being a geologist, where you would predict an earthquake and be dead before it happens."

Abrams said weather outlets such as The Weather Channel are on TV 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are easily accessible for a youngster with a penchant for weather.

Forbes said there's another powerful tool out there.

"Unlike when I started, you could find information on the Internet," he said. Abrams also said unlike today, TV meteorologists from long ago seemed like "gatekeepers of information. They would try to interpret it. But now, they can see the same thing we see."

Abrams, who earned a B.S. and a M.S. in meteorology from Penn State University and joined AccuWeather in 1967, said it's challenging to make a new forecast every day, but Wednesday, it was time to "celebrate the forecast of spring.”
Now, winter is when people seek to lose the "drab and dreary, then the dismal, drizzly and dripping, and we look forward to the demise of the dull and the dreary, the disappearance of the dark and the damp. But sometimes, it does not depart past dinner," said Abrams, also known as "America's Wittiest Weatherman" for his radio broadcasts.

A Latrobe native, Forbes earned his B.S. in meteorology from Penn State and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Forbes said facilities such as the Weather Discovery Center help youngsters learn the science and folklore of weather.

"A future famous meteorologist will get their start by coming through this facility here," he said.

As The Weather Channel's severe weather expert, Forbes lets people know when bad weather issues are on the horizon. "It's not a good thing for me to be naming your community on the air," he said.

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