Stalwart of the storm. Boss of the breeze. Clairvoyant of the cold front. Whether the forecast calls for “barrels of buttery sunshine” or “clumps of clouds and buckets of rain,” WKRG Chief Meteorologist Alan Sealls has a way of making it interesting and engaging viewers with how the local weather affects their daily lives.
“People say I get to the point and don’t scare them when something is not as bad as others make it sound,” the Nappie Award winner for Best Meteorologist said. “They also say I make it easy to understand, and interesting by explaining stuff they see that they were curious about but never stopped to try to figure out. Of course, I try to have fun with the weather when it is quiet, using silly but memorable phrases to describe it!”
Indeed, his frequent and whimsical use of literary devices, pleasant demeanor and decades of experience tend to make even a stable forecast worth watching. Sealls has been in Mobile since 1999, part of a 30-year career that includes experience in Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Albany, Georgia. He holds degrees from Cornell and Florida State universities, and is an instructor at the University of South Alabama.
He has been nominated for and won several Nappie Awards through the years, which surely reside more prominently on his mantlepiece than six Emmy Awards and commendations from the Alabama Associated Press Broadcasters Association, Alabama Broadcasters Association and the American Meteorological Society.
On a recent summer day when the temperature was 92 degrees and the humidity was above 70 percent, Sealls said it’s the “joy” of weather that keeps him going.
“The older I get, the more fascinating it is to study and try to figure out how things work above our heads,” he said. “I also get a big kick out of explaining things to people and seeing them ‘get it.’ I’ve figured out that knowledge is one of the few things you can give away but still have the same amount when you are done.”
A native of Mt. Vernon, New York, Alan lives in Mobile with his wife, a broadcast engineer. His hobbies include photography and golf.
The Gulf Coast’s dynamic weather makes Mobile’s market competitive for forecasters, especially when the skies darken and the pressure drops. So Sealls’ career highlight should come as no surprise.
“Hurricane Katrina really brought together everything I had ever learned, and at the same time made crystal clear how weather can have a huge dollar and life-changing impact,” he said, admitting at the same time his education never ends. “I do learn from every single forecast — even those on a sunny day — but I know clearly that I cannot perfectly predict the future. Tomorrow’s weather has never happened before! There’s always something that is different, even though it may not be obvious.”
When he’s not in front of the green screen or evaluating the latest weather models and data, Sealls still appreciates a little excitement in the atmosphere. Asked about his favorite weather, he said, “Changing! That’s what gives the mystery and the challenge. But if I were retired, then I’d go with sunny and 70 with low humidity, small cumulus clouds and a light breeze.”
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