Jeff Renner is the ultimate weather man — best known for predicting our rainy weeks on KING 5 News.
Some may think he is no more than a friendly face grabbing his notes from an intern and effortlessly delivering his forecast to the camera. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Jeff is a true scientist and explorer, with an artillery of knowledge about the complex weather patterns and atmospheric changes in the Puget Sound area (one of the most difficult regions to predict in the US).
In the KING 5 newsroom one recent evening, I watched as he spent hours analyzing multiple graphs using a localized forecast model from the University of Washington and other KING 5 resources.
After some intense detective work he wrote his notes out and put together his segment from scratch — no interns in sight. I sat down with Jeff to discuss everything from his crazy experience reporting live from the eruption of Mount Saint Helens to his role as an expert witness in court cases around the state.
How has technology changed the way you report on weather?
Jeff -"It’s changed a lot. When I started doing this we would go to the National Weather Service which at that time was on Westlake and take a polaroid of a single satellite image. I came up with the idea of putting a clear plastic sheet over the picture and I’d draw on that to show where the jet stream was going.
There was no radar in the Seattle area and the computer models that we had available to us were very rudimentary. You also had the gaps in terms of coverage. Now we can predict weather patterns within miles of a certain point. Back then you had gaps off the West Coast you could practically drive the state of Washington through and not have anybody notice it. So we missed far more often than we do now.
The ways of detecting weather has improved. We have radar including multiple ones along the coast. We have our SchoolNet and weather buoys. We get up to date information from jet liners taking off and landing. Now the problem basically comes down to finding ways to meaningfully digest all that information."