Introducing Check in with Charlie

I’m often asked, “How did you get interested in weather?” That’s a tough question to answer because my first memories (all the way back to the age of two) involved weather events. It probably started earlier than that though. As an infant, my mom followed the advice of her doctor to give me an hour or two of fresh air every day, even in winter. One cloudy afternoon my mom left me in my stroller, all bundled up of course, on our back deck. As I napped and my mom fixed lunch, the light snow that began to fall went unnoticed. I’m told my mother became aware of the gently falling snow as accumulations approached an inch on me, and my stroller. A curiosity and eventual career in meteorology would follow.

I don’t remember the blizzard of 1978, but my parents had no reservations taking me out to experience the record snowfall after the flakes had ended. At our home, roads were closed to vehicles, so hoofing it and snow mobiles were the only way to visit neighbors. That’s me wrapped in the blanket, and the beer under my stroller wasn’t mine.

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Most meteorologists have a love for storms. Let’s be honest, we didn’t fall in love with the science because of sunny 80 degree days. Usually meteorologists love either hurricanes or winter storms. For me, it was winter storms. A snow day was, and still is magical. There could be nothing better in my eyes that no school and a day filled with playing outside. My dog Dooie didn’t mind it either.

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New England hasn’t seen the wrath of a major hurricane since the mid 1950s, but Gloria in the 1985 and Bob in 1991 left a lasting impression on my developing weather mind.  The eye of Bob went right over the small island where my family spent summers.  I’m the guy in with the cool fluorescent yellow top to my jacket.

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Naturally, the first thing a weather nut does after graduating college is go to work in the world’s worst weather. This is me trying to retrieve the precipitation can on the summit of Mount Washington while winds gusted to 120 mph.

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Mount Washington is a meteorologist’s dream. Unfortunately, the schedule of living on the summit for over a week at a time is not conducive to family life. I’ve been fortunate to be able to stay in Northern New England as my work has brought me to both Bangor and Portland. I live in a small community about 15 miles from Portland these days, and forecast for WGME CBS 13 and FOX 23. I absolutely love both living and working in Maine. The weather is both challenging and humbling. Just when you think you’ve got Mother Nature figured out, she has a curve ball for you. The top 3 most memorable events over the past decade for me have been:

1. Patriots Day Nor’easter in April of 2007

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2. The severe weather outbreak on July 21, 2010 which produced three tornadoes in Southern Maine

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3. Record breaking blizzard on Feb 8 and 9, 2013

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There’s a funny irony about being a broadcast meteorologist. Most of us get into the business because we love to experience storms. I’ve gone entire two day storms in the WGME studio with my head in front of a computer and camera for hours, and experienced the storm no more than sticking my head out the door from time to time. These days, I settle for experiencing “after” the storm. I wouldn’t trade it for the world tough. When not in the WGME office, I love skiing with the family, hiking, fishing, and gardening. A few things you might not know about me… I love dogs, grow giant pumpkins, and hate white chocolate. It is an honor that the Bangor Daily News has asked me to blog for them, and I look forward to our new partnership in the coming months and years.

 

Charlie Lopresti

About Charlie Lopresti

Charlie makes up the "Weather Part" of CBS News 13s evening edition. A native New Englander, he grew up enjoying the area's exciting and sometimes wild weather.