Jim Cantore, the Weather Channel’s star meteorologist, arrived in Washington hours before the snow began falling. Setting up shop on a stretch of North Capitol Street near Union Station, he planned to cover the precipitation and then, when the snow stopped falling, the frigid aftermath and cold to follow.
And unlike his last two visits to the region, this time the storm actually lived up to some of the hype.
“I’d been bitten twice in a row,” he said during an interview Tuesday afternoon.
Cantore last came to D.C. to cover the so-called “Snowquester,” last year’s event remembered largely for apocalyptic forecasts and minuscule snow totals.
Coming to town for an event that doesn’t materialize can lead to mixed feelings for someone with his job, he said.
“You come here, you’re jacked up for a storm,” he said. “In a way, you kind of want it to deliver because it’s what you forecast, and in the other way, you’re fine if it underachieves because that’s less people in harm’s way, the airport gets up and running faster, everybody’s fine. Except for the forecaster.”
Cantore arrived in Washington at midnight Monday. He was up and running at 3 a.m. Tuesday to start coverage at 5 a.m. There was an hour around midday Tuesday where he paused for a nap, but shortly thereafter he was back at it.
“It’s an incredibly active pattern,” he said. “There’s a lot of active weather with this pattern in the eastern part of the country.”
The snow was expected to wind down on Tuesday night, although Cantore warned that the windy cold tomorrow could be a problem. (The Capital Weather Gang is forecasting “frigid” temperatures, with highs topping out in the mid-twens or low 20s.)
“Tomorrow morning, our coverage here will consist of dealing with the cold and expanding on the cold,” he said. “Wind chills will be below zero. There will be blowing snow. There will be issues well past the ending of the precipitation … it’s going to be no picnic tomorrow morning.”
If Cantore is in the neighborhood, that generally means people should start stocking up on bottled water and toilet paper (something the Weather Channel noted in this video). But he said people regularly come by to say “hi” to him and thank him and his crew for going out in what is, invariably, terrible weather.
“When you’re tired, and you’re running on fumes and adrenaline, it’s like someone’s cheering you on,” he said. “And I really appreciate it.”