As legendary talk show host David Letterman leaves late night television tonight, it’s fun to take a look back at his humble beginnings, as a weatherman.

Letterman began his on-camera career on Indianapolis television station WLWI (now WTHR) as a weathercaster and anchor at age 28.

“[He] drew attention to his unique sense of humor and unpredictable on-air behavior by reporting the weather for fictitious cities and congratulating a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane,” reported The Examiner.

Letterman once warned an impending storm could unleash hailstones “the size of canned hams.”

You can watch an early clip of Letterman delivering the weather 47 seconds into the clip below:

In his characteristic dry humor, Letterman makes fun of a satellite image missing the border between Indiana and Ohio.

“I think once again you’ll see we’ve fallen to the prey of political dirty dealings,” he dead panned. “The higher-ups have removed the border between Indiana and Ohio making it one giant state … Personally, I’m against it.”

Even after Letterman turned late night host star, weather served as an occasional source of humor on his shows.

As host of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC in 1998, Letterman barged into the NBC local news studio across the Hall, to do the weather with Al Roker, then a forecaster for New York City:

“Sunrise and sunset – those are very important statistics – if you happen to be a raccoon or a bat,” Letterman joked.

During big storms, Letterman occasionally made the weather the subject of his celebrated “top ten lists”. On the eve of Superstorm Sandy – which a National Weather Service forecaster had dubbed “Frankenstorm”, he announced the “Top ten rejected names for the Frankenstorm” in the clip below:

“The number one rejected name for the Frankenstorm…Oprah Windy”, Letterman proclaimed.

Leading up to the blizzard that wasn’t this past January in New York City, Letterman prepared the “top ten things you don’t want to hear from your weatherman during a blizzard”, delivered by Lonnie Quinn (a local New York City forecaster on CBS):

The number 2 thing you don’t to hear from a weatherman?: “This storm will continue until my demands are met”


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