“His calm voice and easy demeanor brought comfort during the strongest storms, and a laugh or two on the brighter days,” ABC7 wrote in a tribute.
He came to Washington in 1984, worked with CBS affiliate WUSA for 16 years, and then joined ABC7 and remained there until he retired.
“Doug was the best of the best. He was the best colleague, the best mentor and a best friend,” ABC7 meteorologist Steve Rudin, who worked with Hill at both WUSA and ABC7, said in a message to The Washington Post. “Doug was a modest man who lived a simple life, and donated generously. I don’t think Doug fully realized how important he was to not only the weather community in Washington, but the entire community.”
Under Hill’s leadership at ABC7, its weather team turned into a force — expanding to eight meteorologists, broadcasting weather segments not only on Channel 7 but also on Channel 8 and, for several years, on the radio station WTOP.
From 2010 to 2013, Hill teamed with famed Washington meteorologist Bob Ryan, whom WJLA lured away from NBC4.
“Doug was a tremendous broadcaster and communicator,” Ryan told The Post in a statement. “Doug was passionate about getting people prepared for even average weather, but especially when any weather was dangerous, he was at the top of his game. And he was also passionate and loving and a great family man ... and also a man of great faith.”
While at WUSA, Hill paired with Topper Shutt, who is now that station’s chief meteorologist.
“He is the reason I was able to return home and do weather on the station I grew up watching,” Shutt wrote in a message to The Post. “Doug was funny, caring and honest. We will miss him dearly.”
Several of his colleagues lauded his mentorship.
“I met Doug Hill nearly 25 years ago while in college and was in awe that he was the same guy in person that I saw on TV,” wrote Brian van de Graff, an ABC7 meteorologist who worked with Hill, in a message to The Post. “Little did I know that would be the beginning of a mentorship that would help propel me to where I am today. I am forever grateful for his guidance and friendship and thankful for all of those years that I got to work alongside him.”
“Doug was always eager to give me words of wisdom. Most of which had to do with finding time to enjoy life!," wrote Veronica Johnson-Weems, an ABC7 meteorologist who worked with Hill, in an email. "A true fixture of DC weather. He will be missed in the hearts of many!”
From police officer to predictions
Hill’s career path to weather broadcasting was unconventional. After attending Towson University, he joined the Air Force and then became a patrol and public information officer in the Prince George’s County Police Department for six years. He was good on television and was encouraged to apply for TV broadcasting jobs.
“His big break came when applying for his first job at WWBT TV in Richmond, Virginia when the news director saw that Doug had a great presence on camera, however there were no news reporter spots available at the time,” CalvertLive.com wrote in an online profile. “But he did notice Doug had indicated a lifelong hobby in weather forecasting so, following a quick audition, hired him on the spot for the weekend weather job!”
After his first job as a weathercaster in Richmond, he spent 4½ years in Detroit before coming to Washington.
After retiring from ABC7, Hill could be heard on WGTS 91.9 FM, a Christian radio station. He moved from Calvert County to North Carolina and is survived by his wife, Mary-Ann, and several children.