Get To Know Team 3 - AJ Colby
Q: When did you know you wanted to become a weather forecaster?
AJ: I was in fifth grade when I saw the destruction caused by a deadly tornado which touched down near Albion, PA back on May 31st, 1985. Although nothing more than a portly little tyke, I was impressed by Mother Nature's pure power. 12 people died in that tornado and I was awe-struck by such raw, unstoppable force. I believe that that was the initial driving force behind my eventual career choice. Meanwhile, I reported my local weather conditions to a local Cleveland TV station when I was 13 years old. My name was mentioned several times as an official weather watcher, and I was immediately HOOKED!
Q: What courses did you have to take when you went to Ohio State University for your undergraduate degree in meteorology?
AJ: Physics and calculus are main stays of the meteorology program. We parallel the engineers' curriculum for several quarters before branching off into our specialty courses. We had to take synoptic meteorology, radar/severe weather meteorology, climatology, atmospheric dynamics, thermodynamics and a host of electives like "instrumentation". Fun fun fun!!
Q: Northeast Ohio has so many different types of weather events to cover, what is the most exciting - in your opinion - to cover live on television?
AJ: I prefer to challenge myself with wall-to-wall coverage during severe spring thunderstorms. I've learned that in order to embark upon this severe weather coverage, you had better have plenty of water standing by to keep the vocal chords lubricated. There is the potential (in fact, the LIKELIHOOD) that the meteorologist on duty will be on the air SOLO for a very long time...upwards of 2 hours straight. With the help of the news department and other valuable personnel, we can get the info on first and fast. First and FOREMOST in our minds here at Channel 3 and Weather Plus...we are primarily concerned for the safety of our viewers. My job is to get the CORRECT information out to our audience in a timely fashion, without over-hype or scare tactics. I love our station's philosophy of "prepare, not scare". Report the Facts, Respect the Truth.
Q: Let's test your weather knowledge...Tell us about "Cumulus Congestus"
AJ: You are too funny!! That sounds like a really bad cold or flu, doesn't it?!? Well, there is plenty of Latin in those words to be had by all! These clouds are usually the precursor to the "King of the Sky"...thunderstorms are cumulonimbus clouds. This "Congestus" is a product of instability and these billowing "cauliflower-like" cloud formations are observed leading up to the thunderstorm (the main event, if you will...) Cu-Co is always a fascinating sight on an active spring or summer weather day. Usually if you see these, you can imagine that huge amounts of air and water vapor are rising high into the atmosphere, cooling and condensing to form these cloud structures. Isn't this stuff amazing?
Q: Do you feel you are an Xband or Nexrad type of weather guy?
AJ: At Channel 3, we have BOTH!! :-) What more could anyone ask, I ask? They are both very useful for different types of weather phenomena. I enjoy XBAND for the immediacy and live-nature of the data. As the sweep moves around the dial, you know that each 360 degree pass around the dial is a fresh "picture" of what the target (precip usually) is doing out there. The XBAND "LOOP" is smoother and more-telling regarding the motion of individual cells within storm clusters. NEXRAD, on the other hand, only updates every six minutes or so. This can sometimes miss crucial details in a storm's development and behavior. It's important to monitor BOTH. NEXRAD is also good at identifying heavy precip areas which could mean flash flooding over a certain location. This NEXRAD, commissioned by National Weather Service, NOAA, and hence our federal government (hey how 'bout that...our tax dollars at work!!!) is usually more powerful (higher energy output) and this enables NEXRAD to "punch through" thunderstorms to see what's "out there" a little better. NEXRAD also has "algorithms" which allow the operator to concentrate on storm specifics while the computer monitors storms for possible severe weather conditions. The computer can alert the NEXRAD operator if a storm's characteristics have changed and warrant further attention.
Q: What is you your favorite season of the year? And why?
AJ: I love late spring and early summer...the reason? The weather is not too extreme (not too hot, or humid...usually quite pleasant!) and just as important, the daylight is nice and long. How wonderful!!
Q: If you weren't working in television weather, what else in life would you like to be doing?
AJ: I suppose I cannot imagine doing anything else! If I could, and it paid the bills, I wouldn't mind test driving new cars and reviewing them for a living. I LOVE driving new vehicles around...if I could, I would have a brand new vehicle every week, but that's not very cost-effective or realistic...either that, or I would have to get Leno's gig...not likely!! :-)
Q: Name your favorite car and what features make it so appealing to you?
AJ: I like so many different cars that I wouldn't know where to start!! I guess I love the Nissan Murano and the Acura MDX. I like the looks of Pontiacs and I used to own a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. What a COOL car!! Other cars I've owned include: Chevy Blazer, Pontiac Grand Am, Toyota Camry, Mercury Cougar, Nissan Altima, Nissan Murano. (Yeah, lots of dumb financial moves on my part...I have a weakness and addiction for new/different cars and end up upside down often!! -lol) I wish I could have a weakness for buying APPRECIATING ASSETS!!! There's this little thing we call "instant gratification" ... enough excuses, I just love having new cars.
Q: If we can over to the Colby household, what would we find in the refrigerator?
AJ: Several cans of Diet Mountain Dew (what do they put in that stuff, anyway?!!?) a bag of old salad, rotten tomatoes, various salad dressings, chocolate soy milk, a dozen eggs, I can't believe it's not butter spray, Fuji apples, grated parm cheese, Coffee Mate coffee creamer...yep, that about covers it!! (now we have gotten quite personal!!!)
Q: We all have a favorite place to escape to for vacation or just time away from work - where is yours and how often do you get there?
AJ: I usually take a drive through the Metro parks (beautiful scenery), maybe catch a movie at the theater, sometimes just chill and watch a movie at home. It totally depends on my mood!
Q: What's one thing that few people know about you?
AJ: I worry about stupid little things all the time, yet the bigger things don't bother me as much...strange, I know. Talk about sweating the small stuff, eh??
You can email AJ. His address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictures: AJ with his dog Phoenix, AJ at the Ingenuity Fest and AJ and his "mini house" - don't ask!