In The Eye Of The Storm


In the eye of the storm

Be calm and relax.

That’s what Dustin Staples ’23 told himself days after beginning a new job. Remaining chill, however, isn’t always easy when the safety of thousands of people depends on your words and calculations.

Staples started work as a weather forecaster at WITN in Greenville, North Carolina, in mid-August. Days later, the longtime weather enthusiast found himself in the midst of a team of meteorologists at the station studying the path of on-coming Tropical Storm Idalia.

Starting in the early morning, Staples spent much of his time making TV graphics and updating forecasts for the station’s chief meteorologist with the latest data from the National Hurricane Center.

“When I was making the forecast, I saw the trends that Idalia was forecasting to make an impact to eastern North Carolina,” said Staples, a media studies major at Radford. “I was thinking to myself that I get to forecast a possible hurricane coming toward the East, and I was preparing for what was to come.”

That’s a lot of pressure, knowing thousands of people rely on your accurate forecast.

“You have to stay calm and relaxed, even though you see this storm that is producing winds over 100 mph and made an impact to a nearby state or just a few hundred miles away,” said Staples, who worked remotely as a weather forecaster for BTW21 in Martinsville, Virginia, for five years while he was a Radford student. “As the forecast is always changing, the mindset is to just remain confident, especially as many are watching. You want to make sure they are safe.”

As Idalia moved closer to eastern North Carolina, Staples continued to work with his team. It was a tense 10-hour workday for the new guy on the weather crew.

“I was very tired, but also, I was excited to work on a weather phenomenon that the East Coast is used to experiencing every summer,” Staples said. “I also felt a sigh of relief that the original track of the storm was not a direct impact as I was forecasting the week leading up to the storm.”

Sep 8, 2023

Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761

Sep 15, 2023
School of Communication