A Day in the Life of a Planoite: Pete Delkus, TV Meteorologist

Did you know your local TV weather guy plans out most of his evening broadcast before he ever steps foot into the studio? Not only that, he juggles running with his dogs, working out at the gym, lunch and social media all the while working.

WFAA–TV chief meteorologist and Plano resident Pete Delkus has helped plan the days of DFW residents since 2005. Well, maybe not every aspect of their day but at least what to expect when it comes to the weather. That’s what he loves most about his job.

“I help them navigate the storms to keep their family safe,” he said. “It’s fun and challenging, and it’s always something different.”

Pete Delkus on the set at WFAA–TV // photos Jenice Johnson Williams

Weather wasn’t always Pete’s passion. In 1987 he started pitching for the Minnesota Twins’ minor league affiliates after graduating with a bachelors of science degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where he studied television and radio. It was a successful run, but after six years an elbow injury ended his baseball career. 

Other than playing ball, Pete originally wanted to be a sportscaster, and in 1992 started interning at WFTV in Orlando, Florida. When the station’s local weatherman passed away, Pete was offered the job. From there he took masters-level meteorology courses for two years at Mississippi State University and got certified by the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. He went on to be chief meteorologist at WCPO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, Ohio, before landing in his role here in North Texas.

And no, Pete’s forecast doesn’t just regurgitate what The Weather Channel or National Weather Service says — one of a few misconceptions people have about his job. “I wish it was that easy!” he said with a laugh. Meteorologists all have the same data, but Pete takes that information and makes local predictions based on his own knowledge and experience of weather.

Another misconception? Some people think Pete’s giving Las Vegas odds about the weather, and they don’t consider what those percentages he shares really mean for their particular location. There are 33 counties to consider. He joked, “I’ll say a percentage about light rain showers. If you receive a light rain shower, you are like, ‘Okay, Pete said I would.’ But if you don’t receive it, ‘He’s an idiot. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!’”

When there is severe weather, like the infamous Icemageddon of 2013, his day starts long before the storm or ice begins and finishes hours after it ends. He helps organize which reporters and meteorologists will help in the studio, on the ground or in the helicopter. Those long hours of continuous studio lighting mean the studio is a lot hotter, which causes Pete to take off his jacket. Days like that are the stuff of urban legend; many in the community swear he pushes up his sleeves. It’s resulted in a lot of ribbing and even the odd Twitter account @DelkusSleeves. But Pete said he can’t push up his shirtsleeves — he wears French cuffs. He finds it all pretty funny and doesn’t take it too seriously, even the time when a psychologist emailed him that he was being egotistical for taking off his jacket.

“Or could it be something as simple as I’m sweating in the studio because it”s hot?” he responded.

And so, barring any crazy weather, Pete provided a general overview of the average day for a TV meteorologist:

A Day in the Life of a TV Meteorologist

6 a.m.  You won’t find Pete Delkus with a cup of coffee. He prefers to get his day going with a glass of iced tea.

7 a.m.   Time to get on the computer to catch up on current events and social media. He looks at the latest weather model data that’s come in overnight. If it’s cold weather season, for example, he checks to see if there is a potential for snow over the next 15 days. This helps him plan what he will relay to his crew.

8 a.m.  A multitasking wizard, Pete goes on a run with his dogs and then off to the gym, but not without being on the phone non-stop with the newsroom. Together they decide what the big weather stories are for the day. He does his brainstorming during this time and walks through ideas with his team.

12 p.m.  Pete watches WFAA-TV’s noon news every day, which forces him to actually sit down for lunch. This is also a time for him to catch up on his personal emails.

1 p.m.  Next up is a shower and then off to Victory Park in downtown Dallas for work.

3 p.m. When Pete steps into the studio, he has already done almost everything he needs to do for the broadcast except go live. These two hours are spent on last minute details, like working with the graphic artist to make sure the weather maps are correct.

5 p.m.  Time to go on the air and give the weather forecast for the next several days. Some of this time often includes teasing sportscaster Dale Hanson, of course.

6 :30 p.m.  Pete is home in time for dinner and spending time with his family. He makes planning his days early a priority so that he can get home on time.

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