Q and A with Meteorologist Jacob Lanier from Jackson, MS
Jacob Lanier joined the WJTV Storm Team 12 in June of 2019 after graduating from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in professional meteorology. He enjoys keeping viewers safe during Dixie Alley severe weather and sharing weather photos of sunrises, sunsets, and storms.
While at MSU, Jacob was the head drum major for the Famous maroon Band. At Mississippi State, he also won the “Best Collegiate Weathercast” award from the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press.
A native of Atlanta, GA, Jacob loves the active weather that comes with living in the Southeast. When not forecasting the weather, he likes being outdoors, working out, and playing board games! He also enjoys cheering on the MSU Bulldogs and the Atlanta Falcons.
What was your most memorable weather event?
My most memorable weather event was the Starkville, MS, EF-1 tornado on April 13th, 2019. Being a Saturday, not too many people were paying attention to the weather, and even I was burnt out from already multiple severe days over the spring severe weather season. But Saturday evening, a strong mesocyclone had tracked from Vicksburg through Central Mississippi with multiple reported tornadoes and was approaching Starkville. A tornado touched down on the south side of the Mississippi State University campus and moved northeast through the highly student populated side of town. This was the first time I was concerned for my own safety during a tornado event. I sheltered in a lower level bathroom with friends who had never seen me this serious about a tornado warning before. I learned a lot in this event about communicating small scale features like tornadoes over social media. Amazingly, there were not even any injuries from this storm. Surveying the tornado damage track after the storm was a great learning experience about the chaotic and wildly unpredictable nature of severe weather.
What is your favorite and least favorite type of weather?
I’m a southerner and that means heat and thunderstorms. I just want to wear shorts everyday and feel the sunshine! I also love summertime heat leading to afternoon thunderstorms. The rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning from a distance always remind me why I love the weather. My least favorite type of weather is easily the cold! I hate wind chill and having to wear a jacket outside.
If you weren’t a meteorologist what would you most like to be?
Well I love traveling to see unique places and cultures and also enjoy taking, editing, and sharing photos. So, I think getting to be a travel photographer would be awesome!!
From a purely meteorological point of view, where would you most like to live?
The southeast US pretty much has the weather I like, long hot summers, year-round thunderstorms, some annual tropical activity, and only rare snows.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just want to give a shout out to the National Weather Service meteorologists who are so incredible at helping us better do our jobs of sharing weather information with the public. They support us broadcasters with warning lead time, storm reports, and detailed weather analysis that we don’t normally have time for! They can often get overlooked and forgotten by the public and are some of the most important people in our weather enterprise.
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