Meteorology is not an exact science, although we do depend on moving satellites, radar, doper and computer generated forecasts, etc., to give us a fairly accurate reading,â€? says Woods, in an interview. â€œSometimes it comes down to simply evaluating the information at hand and coming up with a sensible guess.â€?
Neither rain, sleet nor snow or 8o temperatures deter Fox 5 weatherman, Mike Woods, from his appointed round at the weather beat. Up at 3:00 a.m., and on the job by 4:00 a.m., its Mikeâ€™s youthful and handsome face viewers see Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m., until 9:00 a.m., advising whether our days will be cloudy or bright.
â€œMeteorology is not an exact science, although we do depend on moving satellites, radar, doper and computer generated forecasts, etc., to give us a fairly accurate reading,â€? says Woods, in an interview. â€œSometimes it comes down to simply evaluating the information at hand and coming up with a sensible guess.â€?
Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Mike resided there until age 25. He became interested in meteorology at the age of eight, after becoming fixated on rain or the lack thereof. â€œNorthern California is green for the most part but it is a little like a desert in the valley,â€? he continued. â€œIt didnâ€™t rain enough for my taste, so I found myself constantly watching all the weather stations, comparing and contrasting all the different meteorologistâ€™s forecasts. Around third grade, I started reading books about the weather, focusing particularly on hurricanes and tornados,â€? explained Woods. Eventually, he attended U.C. Davis. Starting off his studies as an Atmospheric Science major, he later earned a degree in Rhetoric and Communications which was the broadcasting side of what he wanted to do. He took correspondent meteorology courses that aided Woods in acquiring an American Meteorological Society (AMS) certification.
â€œMy first job in TV was at WITN, a station that covered the cities of Greenville, Washington and New Bern in North Carolina. It was rural and mainly farmland. I was the morning and noon meteorologist. I had to take a $10K pay cut while I got my feet wet learning the business but it is definitely a business for which I have a passion. I moved up markets rather quickly. The fast track to New York, which is the #1 market, was about 8 years,â€? explained the athletic weatherman. After North Carolina, Woods went to Phoenix, AZ, where it was hot and dry and where he also was nominated for an Emmy. â€œOriginally, my goal was to get a morning and noon spot at a TV station in Sacramento, which was Market No. 20. It was close to my family and a good-sized market. I felt I could make a decent living but after I go my second job, I decided to keep my options open. I decided I wanted to be in a big city. I considered SF, LA, NY, Washington, Atlanta, and Chicago but as it turned out, I got an offer in all the cities I wanted to be in, so I chose NY. I chose New York even though it meant moving so far from my home state of California because I realized Fox 5 would allow me to grow and so far, I am pretty happy with my choice.â€?
Fox Five has allowed Mike to try his hand at feature reporting. â€œMy feature reporting is mostly fitness related because I like to work out a lot. I started doing the Gym beat. I had never worked as a reporter or feature reporter, prior to Fox. However, when they gave me that opportunity, I was glad to take it. It was rocky at first but things have started to smooth out and now folks like to see me out there doing physical things. I enjoy it and will do anything in terms of sports although I do shy away from rollerblading. I like to bike ride, hike, ski on both water and snow. I play golf and used to play racquetball a lot. Iâ€™m not very good at basketball or contact sports so I avoid them because I canâ€™t risk getting hurt.â€?
An average day for Mike is a 3:00 AM wakeup, a trip to his computer to check out the national weather service sites to see the daily forecast. â€œI check the raw data of the forecast model information. I look at this first before going to work. Most of the time, I will go out in the field instead of going into the studio. I like to be out in the field where I can chat with people about the forecasts. Weather is largely a guessing game. Weathermen use satellites and radar, which gives accurate information as to what is happening with that particular dayâ€™s weather or even the following day, but the big question becomes what is happening in the future. It is easier to forecast one to two days out, but much more difficult to forecast day 3, 4 and 5. We like to have information that is 100 percent accurate but that is not always possible. Itâ€™s all based on forecast models that are computer generated. Usually, we will feed all this information into a super computer and the computer crunches all the numbers and puts out a forecast, thus via these models, we decide which ones we think are most accurate and then we put our forecast together based on that,â€? elaborated Woods.
Mike has developed a respect for the higher intelligence that oversees our world. â€œThe thing about weather is it is temperamental. You never know what itâ€™s going to do. Sometimes, it seems to have a life all its own. When you study weather, you begin to see how the weather patterns seem like its own little animal. Itâ€™s amazing how powerful it is. As Iâ€™ve watch the weather throughout time, Iâ€™ve developed a great respect for whatever it is that is controlling things that is much larger than us all,â€? said Mike.
A bachelor, Woods, is presently dating and says he is faithful to the relationship. He doesnâ€™t claim to know where it will lead but he respects the day-to-day process of finding out. While in eastern North Carolina, Mike covered several hurricanes and was actually in Bertha and Fran. â€œHurricanes develop mostly during the hurricane season which is from June 1st to November 30th. Hurricane conditions have to be specific in order for one to develop. You need very warm ocean waters, 80o temperatures or warmer, and you need an area of low pressure giving a little counter clockwise spin in the atmosphere that gets a cluster of thunderstorms to spin around in a circle. Add in high pressure to allow the cluster of storms to maintain itself and as it continues to grow the area of low pressure at the surface and high pressure aloft, allows the storm to strengthen. The eye of the storm forms within that circle. Anything beyond 74 miles per hour is a hurricane,â€? added Woods, the youngest member of a family of five.
â€œThe trick to meteorology is the ability to convey the story of weather across the air so that other people who donâ€™t know anything about meteorology can learn from you and be entertained at the same time. I like to story tell, so doing it via the weather is a plus.â€?
Mike involves himself in charity work. â€œI like to work with kids. I often do weather related presentations in schools. The kids seem to like it. I also volunteered for a Read Aloud Program in New Rochelle. I read aloud to a group of 4th and 5th graders in order to encourage them to read more. I am also co-hosting a Walkathon to benefit the Catholic charities in Prospect Park, Brooklyn with Jim Ryan. I hope folks will come out and join us to support the charities and just look out for me because I am that roving weatherman viewers see on Fox 5 each weekday traveling around the City, reporting the weather and just having a good time. Come on out and say, hi!â€?
For more reports please call (212) 481-7745 to subscribe to newsstand edition of The Black Star News.