And the blue suit.
That’s what I did during the opening session of the AMS Broadcast Meteorology Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma this week.
I was looking for the guy everyone calls “Heatwave” because no weather conference would be complete without his sense of humor and passion for weather, especially…uh…heat.
In my ongoing series of Friday interviews, I’m talking with Meteorologist Richard “Heatwave” Berler who works for KGNS-TV in super hot Laredo, Texas.
#1 So, we all want to know: how did you get the nick-name “Heatwave”?
I grew up in Connecticut and loved weather as a kid. I dreamed it would someday hit 100 degrees in my town because I wanted to feel what that was like. It never got past 99 degrees. So, I went to college at Florida State University. Out of all my friends, I was the only one that thought Florida was not hot enough. Because I loved heat so much, everyone just started calling me heatwave!
#2 Have you always worked in ‘hot’ Laredo, Texas?
Actually, my first job was in Duluth, Minnesota. But by 1980 I was in Laredo, Texas and I’ve been there ever since.
#3 Is Laredo hot enough for you?
Yes, because although lots of places have hot summers, we have hot weather that is unique to North America during late winter and early spring. We sometimes have our first 100 degree day of the year in February! We hit 101 during February 2011. Laredo has hit 105 as early as March. And 110 degrees as early as April. That was April 8, 1989.
#4 How many 100 degree days do you have in Laredo, Texas, anyway?
We average 80 days a year at 100 or more. But in 1998 we had 115 days topping 100 degrees. Those of us who live in Laredo are used to it and expect this kind of heat.
#5 I think I already know the answer to this one. But with a name like “Heatwave”, will you retire somewhere hot?
I want to retire somewhere hot but my wife will have a say in that. She is not a “Heatwave” but she’s been very flexible living in this heat for the last thirty-one years!