Q and A with Andrew Kozak, meteorologist at Spectrum News 1 in Columbus, Ohio
Andrew Kozak's path to being a meteorologist started in Staten Island, around the age of 4 when his parents and grandmother showed him “The Wizard Of Oz”. Once the color kicked in and the munchkins came out, he lost interest. The “tor-mado” as he put it, was fascinating and immediately turned on his obsession with weather. Once he was able to read, it was non-stop trips to the library to take out books on severe weather. After an internship for Sam Champion at WABC in New York, Andrew touched down in Casper, WY just a week after graduating college and began his professional career. Since then, he's forecasted weather full-time in Wichita, KS, Tulsa, OK, Memphis, TN and freelanced in Kansas City and Austin, TX.
He is currently a meteorologist at Spectrum News 1 Ohio, and resides in Columbus.
Andrew has had some national and international recognition, and Anderson Cooper once even called a weather segment of his “The Best Forecast Ever”
Besides weather, Andrew co-hosted an entertainment show and currently is working on a second season of a podcast.
You can find him all over social media on Facebook, @AndrewKozakTV on Twitter and @AndrewKozakTV on Instagram.
What was your most memorable weather event?
The Greensburg tornado, which was part of the May 4-6th, 2007 tornado outbreak. I was working at KSN in Wichita, KS at the time, and although I had covered severe weather before this, nothing prepared me for the intensity, devastation and quite frankly, the horror of the situation. We had an old dot-matrix printer that would print out national weather service statements and in the midst of the coverage, a PDS (particularly dangerous situation) was issued, and within the hour, the first confirmed death. I can remember nearly every minute of tracking this large wedge tornado that was at times, wider than the entire town of Greensburg itself.
While no good ever comes out of devastation like that, I look at that weekend outbreak as a sort of “coming of age” for me professionally.
What is your favourite and least favourite type of weather?
Personally, I could never complain about a 75-degree day with sunshine and low humidity! But forecasting severe weather (death and destruction aside) is my favorite. I love tracking storms and being able to keep people in their path safe from start to finish. Live “wall-to-wall” coverage is the pinnacle of TV meteorology, for me at least. You're literally standing with your viewers, taking them through the center of storms as they pass over. The rush and the live tracking, all while being able to be a calming presence during intense weather is what I live for.
My least favorite type of weather? Ice and freezing rain. Rain we can deal with. Snow? The kid in me loves it, even when I have to shovel after a long day of forecasting it. But no one likes ice and freezing rain– it's not even fun to play in!
If you weren't a meteorologist, what would you most like to be?
Honestly, since I was old enough to realize that when you grow up you need a job, being a TV meteorologist is the only profession I ever wanted to have! It never crossed my mind that I should look into something else (despite the extreme competitiveness of this industry). I have, however, always had an interest in architecture and city-planning, and used to study street maps in the library as a kid. It fascinated me, but not nearly as much as the weather.
From a purely meteorological point of view, where would you most like to live?
If we're going to go purely meteorological– then I'd have to say anywhere in California. People sometimes make jokes about being a meteorologist in places like LA and San Diego, but the differences meteorologically between the coast, the mountains, the desert actually make forecasting for some of those markets extremely challenging. You can have 30 or 40-degree differences in temperatures in a relatively small area, and rain, sun and snow all in the same day. Couple that with complicated wind forecasting, smoke and fire weather, and you truly will never be bored!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I love going to schools (virtually these days) and talking to kids about weather and science. I think it's so important now more than ever to encourage an education grounded in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). Bringing it back to weather, technology, forecasting and ways to get “ahead of severe storms” will continue to evolve with new generations making advancements in these subjects. I always encourage kids I visit to explore careers and interests in these areas, including meteorology.
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