Monday, August 31, 2015
Dave Brown Day - celebrating a living legend in the weather community
Today is Dave Brown Day in Memphis. It's a bittersweet day for many as a longtime voice of calm and reason in the midst of weather chaos retires from WMC Action News 5 after 38 years (wow!).
I first met Dave over 20 years ago when I was in high school, preparing to head to college to begin a career in weather. Many of our encounters over the years have been via the local chapter of the American Meteorological Society, of which we are both members and regular attendees. Looking back on the last couple of decades I have known him, the one word I would use to characterize Dave, the one that seems most fitting, is genuine. You see, our AMS chapter membership is not just local meteorologists. It includes a large number of "Joe Publics," people who just have an interest or hobby in weather, maybe own their own weather stations or browse the computer models just like those who have a career in the field, but who have jobs doing other things. They attend to learn and socialize with others who have the same hobby or passion, which also happens to include many of those in the meteorology sector (public, private, broadcast, etc.).
Dave has been the most regular TV weathercaster at these meetings over the years and, to a person, he always greets those who attend - from teenager just beginning in the profession to long-time retired civil servant - as if he was just another hobbyist and friend, not a local weather legend with his own bobblehead.
Who Dave appears to be on TV - the reassuring figure who would be just as comfortable sipping a glass of iced tea with you as broadcasting into your living room or bedroom during a tornado outbreak - is exactly who he is in real life. He is genuine, friendly, and as down-to-earth as they come, never passing up a moment to deflect praise for this work to others. He was that person when a certain young boy in his teens (yours truly) with a fledgling passion for weather showed up for his first AMS meeting, just as he was a few months ago at another meeting, when the same young man had become established in the local weather community.
We'll all miss watching Dave Brown on channel 5. But I also happen to know that the Storm Tracking Team is in good hands. Ron Childers, who has been a great supporter for me personally and has been "in training" for the role of chief meteorologist at WMC for 25 years, takes over the reins, leading a younger, but just as capable and passionate, team of meteorologists.
I am certain Dave will enjoy a little slower pace, perhaps sipping sweet tea on the patio and listening to the thunder rumble without worrying about having to drive from Lakeland to Union Avenue to step in front of the camera and reassure his devoted viewers with that calming demeanor.
Best wishes to a living legend! I look forward to hearing about "retired life" at the next AMS function, as I'm fairly certain his passion for weather will lead him to a meeting or two, despite now holding the title of "emeritus."
What are your thoughts or recollections of Dave Brown and his career? Comment below!
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