Talking About the Weather With Joe D’Aleo

Joe D'Aleo has been at the center of American meteorology throughout his career.

Joe D’Aleo has been at the center of American meteorology throughout his career.

Joe D’Aleo has been at the center of American meteorology throughout his 40-year career. He was a co-founder and first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel. Later he was content manager and “Dr. Dewpoint” for Intellicast.com. He was a college professor of meteorology for six years at Lyndon State College, and has authored many peer-reviewed papers. While there, he inaugurated the Northeast Storm Conference, now in its 39th year. Currently, he is co-chief meteorologist at WeatherBell Analytics.

TATW: If you were speaking to a 10-year-old child curious about meteorology, what would be the most vital idea to leave the child with?

D’ALEO: First of all, it is a wondrous world in which we live, and weather affects our lives every day in every way. There is great majesty in big storms or a beautiful sunrise or sunset. But there are benefits regardless of the career chosen to pay attention to the weather and its effects on you business, and making the right, sometimes life-or-death, decisions about if, where, and when you go.

Jack Borden, a former TV reporter from Boston started a program for young people encouraging them to look up: http://www.forspaciousskies.com/ They found those that began to observe the sky became more curious about nature and better students.

TATW: How old were you when you were pretty sure you would be a weatherman when you grew up?

D’ALEO: One of my first memories was of a big snow when I was very small. I became more interested after almost drowning in Hurricane Carol; but the winter of 1960-’61 in New York City convinced me.

TATW: What is the most remarkable weather that you have observed?

D’ALEO: Hurricane Carol; the snowy winters of 1995-’96, 2000-’01, 2010-’11; a tornado that came very close in Georgia one early April morning.

TATW: Where and when was the most beautiful sky that you have seen?

D’ALEO: I remember the moonlit nights with deep snow in Vermont, an incredible aurora event when I was in Vermont, and a green sky in a severe storm in Wisconsin. I recall beautiful mammatus clouds behind a storm and lenticular pancake clouds over mountains in New England.

Lenticular clouds, also known as pancake clouds, form over Mt. Rainier in Washington State.

Lenticular clouds, also known as pancake clouds, form over Mt. Rainier in Washington State.

TATW: What are the best books about weather for lay people?

D’ALEO: I learned a lot from the Golden Book on weather as a young boy. David Ludlum’s books and Jack William’s USATODAY weather book are also good reads.

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About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
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