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What does a Meteorologist do? Watch Meteorologist Chelsea Andrews at Work

As a meteorologist, I create my own forecast and build the graphics you see on-air. To create a forecast, I check current conditions, look at several different computer models, and use my knowledge of Central Texas weather patterns to determine what the temperatures, wind speeds, and rain chances will likely be for the next several days.

I grew up outside of San Antonio, Texas. From a very young age, I was obsessed  with the weather. I used to watch the evening news with my Grandma, and my favorite part was always the weather forecast. At the time, I was actually afraid of storms  but I was also fascinated by them. There’s nothing like the moment before a storm rolls in, when the winds pick up, you can smell the rain in the air, and lightning streaks across the sky.

A big part of being a meteorologist is communication. During dangerous weather events, it’s my job to deliver the forecast in a calm, clear manner so viewers know what hazards to expect and how to keep themselves safe. This picture was taken during the 2020 Hurricane Season as Hurricane Laura made landfall.​

I love the weather both in and out of the TV station. When I’m not at work, one of my hobbies is storm photography. Recently, I’ve been trying to take great lightning photos. It takes a lot of patience and time, but the results are well worth the wait.

Throughout the school year, local teachers invite me to visit with students to talk about my job as a meteorologist.  During the pandemic, these visits became virtual. I love sharing my love of weather with the students and showing girls that they can pursue careers in STEM fields too.

When I’m delivering the forecast, I’m usually in front of a chroma key, or green screen. The studio cameras take this image and add my weather graphics to any green they see. That’s why I can’t wear green without looking like a floating head.

Growing up, I noticed there weren’t many female meteorologists on TV, so I wasn’t even sure it would be a career I could pursue. I tried a few different majors in college, but after a while I realized there was no path for me but to become a meteorologist. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Science from Texas A&M University in 2010 and have been a Broadcast Meteorologist for eight years. I have spent the last six years at FOX 7 Austin in Austin, Texas.

During very active weather events, like the winter storms Texas experienced in February, we go into team-coverage mode. This helps when the weather is changing quickly and there’s lots of information to get to the audience.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most schools in Central Texas switched to at home learning. I wanted to make sure students were still staying engaged and excited about learning. That’s why I created the “Science in Sweatpants” series. These videos feature easy, fun, at-home science experiments that can be done with everyday household items. For the Halloween edition, I created a do-it-yourself fog machine while dressed like a hot dog.

As a Broadcast Meteorologist it’s important to be active and engaged with my community, so I can get to know exactly whom I’m forecasting for. A few years ago, I was invited to participate in the Over the Edge event for the Make-a-Wish foundation of Central and South Texas. It required rappelling down a 32-story building in Downtown Austin. It was scary, but at least the clouds were pretty that day.

Word of Advice: Meteorology is such an exciting field, but it requires a lot of math and science. These classes can be difficult, but they’re not impossible. If you want to pursue a career in meteorology (or any STEM field), don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re having trouble with some of your classes. Sometimes all it takes is a little extra tutoring outside of class to help everything “click” and make sense. You can do anything you set your mind to!

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