She’s Been Awarded the Certificate of Broadcast Meteorology (CBM) which is the Most Prestigious Designation Offered to on-air Meteorologists. Meet Atlanta News First Meteorologist, Ella Dorsey

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Q: How did you become interested in the weather?
ED:
My dad gave me a Discovery Channel VCR (yeah, throwback) when I was 4 years old called “Tornado, Hurricane, Flood”. I watched it religiously. Like, I watched it so much my parents started to get worried haha. That is what started my fascination with weather. 

Q: What are some of the most challenging aspects of being a Meteorologist?
ED:
I would say the schedule is the hardest part. Working on TV news means you either work weekends, early mornings, or late nights. Each of these comes with personal sacrifice that can be really tough at times.

Q: How long does it take to come up with a forecast?
ED:
About two hours. I do an hour of forecasting and an hour of building the graphics to tell the weather story on-air. Some people think we read the forecast from the teleprompter. In reality, there is nothing on the teleprompter when I’m on air. Everything I say and show on TV is what I’ve come up in combination with the rest of the Atlanta News First Weather Team.

Q: Can you share with our audience one of your most memorable weather events you’ve covered?
ED:
I got to cover Hurricane Florence in North Carolina in 2018. We rode through the eyewall near Wrightsville Beach and spent days after landfall covering the flooding and continuing severe storms. We slept in wet clothes, had no power, and ate peanut butter sandwiches. I learned so much about what it’s like to live through a hurricane.

Q: Is there one season of the year that's easier or harder to forecast?
ED:
Summer is pretty easy in Georgia. It’s going to be hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms most days. There are two types of weather that are the hardest to forecast – hurricanes and ice/snow events.

Q: How many times are you out in public and have people come up and complain about or ask you questions about the weather?
ED:
All the time! People always recognize me when I’m out. It’s so fun to meet the people that watch every morning! Most people just want to say hi or grab a picture, and they are generally really nice.

Q: Do you get an adrenaline rush when all those watches and warnings start popping up?
ED:
Yes. It is crazy. I equate it to the butterflies you get at the top of a roller coaster, or the feeling you got right before you played a huge sports game in high school. Severe weather days are like the Superbowl for meteorologists – they are the days when what we do is the most important. 

Q: Do you have any advice you can share for those women who may want to pursue a career as a Meteorologist? 
ED:
Absolutely. My biggest piece of advice is to dig into the science – it’s okay to be a complete nerd. People actually love learning about the intricate pieces of the forecast that many News Directors might say to steer away from on-air. Don’t dumb down the forecast for viewers. Also, tune out the noise. There will always be negative people making negative comments. You will NEVER be able to please everyone. Be unapologetic in who you are.

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Q: What is a typical day like for you? 
ED:
I wake up at 3:20am, grab a coffee and head to work. I walk in the door at 4am and make the forecast, talk to producers, and build graphics. I’m on TV from 6-10am. I typically leave work around 11:30am and go straight to the gym. So essentially the first 9 hours of my day are non-stop. But then the day slows down a lot. I usually have the entire afternoon to cook, go to the pool, or do anything else I need to get done. My day ends around 7pm – I try to be in bed no later than 7:30pm.

Q: Tell us how you manage your work life balance with your busy schedule.
ED:
The work-life balance can be very hard at times. I work more than most people – but I also really enjoy my work and am more passionate about it than most people. During the long days and weeks, I remind myself that work doesn’t really feel like work to me, and I’m extremely lucky for that. 

Five Things About Meteorologist Ella Dorsey 

1. What’s the most amazing adventure you’ve ever been on?
Studying abroad in Austria my sophomore year of college. I got to live in the Alps Mountains and travel all over Europe, which really sparked my curiosity for seeing the world.

2. Among your friends, what are you best known for?
I’m the one that always tells it how it is. I can be brutally honest, but my friends know they can always trust me for the truth. 

3. What’s your favorite app on your phone? 

Roller Coaster Tycoon – just like the computer game in the 90s

4. Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
I’m naturally a night owl. It took me 3 years to get my body to adjust to the morning schedule!

5. Favorite Dessert?
Cannoli

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