EDMONTON – In the November issue of Avenue magazine, you’ll learn more about Global Edmonton’s Weather Team. Here is the extended interview:
Will I need a jacket today? An umbrella? My warmest boots? Since the days of legendary weather anchor Bill Matheson, named World’s Best Weatherman in 1995, viewers have looked to Global Edmonton for answers to those questions.
The city’s most dynamic and diverse weather team continues to lead the way in ratings and accuracy.
Veteran weather specialists Kevin O’Connell (Global News Weekends) and Mike Sobel (Global Morning News and Noon News Hour), Edmonton’s only female weather anchor, Margeaux Morin (Global News Hour Final, weeknights at 11 p.m.), and Chief Meteorologist Jesse Beyer (Global News at 5 p.m. and News Hour at 6 p.m.) entertain and inform with daily forecasts, weather news and stories.
But the secret to this team’s success – and its popularity – is the viewers. Each week, they share hundreds of photos with Global Edmonton, and many are shown on air, bringing a personal touch to the weather.
We sat down with the Global Weather Team to talk about forecasts, Global Weather School and the challenges of working on a green screen.
QUESTION 1: We just have to know, do YOU check the weather before you get dressed and ready in the mornings?
JESSE BEYER: I’ll check the Global weather app, watch another Global Edmonton broadcast… and even forecast rain myself… and still forget to bring a jacket or umbrella!
MIKE SOBEL: The first thing I do every morning when I roll out of bed at 2:35 is pull up the blinds to look outside, much to the chagrin of my wife who gets woken up every time.
MARGEAUX MORIN: I work the late shift on week nights, so on Tuesday to Saturday mornings when I wake up I know exactly what to expect. But for good measure, I curse at myself when the conditions are less than ideal. After a vacation or long weekend I’ve been known hit the River Valley trails and get caught in the pouring rain. But Edmonton weather rarely stops me from doing anything I love.
KEVIN O’CONNELL: I don’t really check the weather before I get dressed in the morning, but sometimes just before I leave the house to see if I need a coat or mitts. I usually think I remember from the day before. I have been caught many times with no boots and too much snow though!
QUESTION 2: What do you think makes a good forecast?
JESSE: Details… So many forecasts are generic. “High 23, 30 per cent chance of scattered showers”… Well, when?! Where?! Why? It’s all in the details.
MIKE: A good forecast consists of everything the viewer needs from a weather perspective to plan their day. It’s not necessary to get too technical. The viewer wants to know if their child’s soccer game is going to get rained out or if they should plug the car in that night. It’s also important to throw in a little humour now and then, especially in the morning.
WATCH: Mike attempts to give the weather forecast while Ripple the dog – from the Edmonton Humane Society – just wants to play.
MARGEAUX: Being on News Hour Final, our viewers want to know what to expect for the next day. Will the roads be icy tomorrow morning? Will the kids need extra layers for recess? You’ll have those questions answered within minutes of the show starting. But there is more to weather reporting than that. I’ll update you on ski and snowboarding conditions, or I’ll tell you when to watch out for Northern Lights. I like being able to connect people to the beauty of our region.
KEVIN: I think a good forecast provides enough information to help everyone get through their day. Do you need a coat or not? Will it get warmer during the day? Will I get called to the school to bring rubber boots? These are some of the questions I try to answer during a forecast. I also like to throw in some personality and joke a bit about it – all we can do is tell you what to expect – we can’t change it!!
QUESTION 3: If you could be a superhero what would be your superhero power and name?
JESSE: Lotto man… I’d be able to predict the lottery numbers.
MIKE: I would be “Chinook Man,” able to melt up to 30 cm of snow with two blasts of his super powered nostrils.
MARGEAUX: Working in news, we see a lot of sad stories from around the world. I wish I had the power to cast peace into every nation and community. It would probably put us all out of a job, but I would be OK with that.
KEVIN: If I had a super power, it would have to be the ability to create or change the weather. I’d show up at weddings and parties and long weekends and listen to all the complaints and turn the weather into whatever you wanted.
QUESTION 4: What is your favourite part of presenting Global Weather School to Grade 5 classrooms? (Funniest things kids want to know or questions they ask)?
JESSE: Ha! All of it. I like seeing the kids’ faces light up when you get to a cool fact. Knowing they might remember that one piece of information for a long time is awesome.
MIKE: I really enjoy how inquisitive the kids are. In most cases, their teachers prepare them extremely well so their questions are very relevant. But then there’s always: ‘How much do you make?’ What’s your dog’s name?’ and finally: ‘What happens when you have to go to the bathroom?’
MARGEAUX: During Global Weather School we talk about powerful weather systems like tornados. Sometimes the kids look terrified and I worry that they won’t sleep for the next week. Others are fascinated and want to know what would happen if we were in a storm’s direct path. Either way, my main message is to always have an emergency plan in place for your family. If disaster struck, you want your kids to know what to do, and it all starts with a conversation.
KEVIN: I like the presentations to the Grade 5s. The kids are always interesting and have interesting questions and theories. They all want to know about the green screen and how much money we make. I did a presentation in my son’s class once and he just spoke up and said: “It’s no big deal guys, he’s just my dad. He makes mistakes all the time!”
QUESTION 5: If you were a contestant on Big Brother, which one of your Weather Team colleagues would be your biggest competition in the house and why?
JESSE: Margeaux! Look at that smile… She’d say the word to the rest of the house and I’d be gone.
MIKE: My biggest competition would probably come from Kevin who, like me, has been around the block a couple of dozen times and therefore knows the ins and outs of a tough battle.
MARGEAUX: Jesse is a smart guy. I think he would do well strategically and on the brainy competitions. Mike, and all of his training at the gym, would make him a big physical threat, plus he’s so easygoing. But I have to go with Kevin! His social game would be hard to beat. He’s so funny – on and off camera – everyone would love him too much to send him home.
KEVIN: I think it would be Margeaux. She’s younger and better looking and spends a lot more time at the gym than I do!
QUESTION 6: Is there a distinctive talent a weather anchor needs to have to work on a green screen?
JESSE: The RIGHT pair of glasses! Kevin O’Connell!
WATCH: Grabbing the wrong glasses can be problematic, especially if you’re a weatherman on live television. Global Edmonton’s Kevin O’Connell learned that the hard way on the Morning News.
MIKE: You need a good memory in order to remember each and every item that appears on that blank screen. You don’t buy that? Alright, peripheral vision so that the monitors on either side of you are visible.
MARGEAUX: I thought that after decades of dance training I would have the coordination skills to ease on to the weather green screen, but I was wrong! There are two monitors on the side that act like a mirror. But the monitor in front shows everything backwards, so it really messes with my head sometimes. I’ve accidently pointed to Lloydminster when I was actually trying to point at Jasper.
KEVIN: You have to be prepared for just about anything. Some days you’re not quite sure what might or might not show up. You need to be on your toes and be ready to improvise!
QUESTION 7: Why do you think Canadians are so obsessed with the weather? (What do most people ask you?)
JESSE: It’s because we deal with pretty much EVERY kind of weather. From coast to coast we have tornadoes to tropical storms to blizzards to floods. Nothing can be ruled out!
MIKE: Research continues to show that weather events dominate the headlines. The weather in Canada can be so extreme and change so quickly. Viewers have no problem approaching me with questions like whether or not they’ll be able to paint the deck before the rain falls, etc. Every now and then they’ll ask what the weather will be like for their child’s wedding on a particular date… two years down the road!
MARGEAUX: Weather in Canada has a huge impact on our way of life. We need to be prepared for the elements in order to keep our families safe, and to just enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. I always think it’s funny when people blame me for the weather. If I could control the forecast I would be doing something far more lucrative with my time!
KEVIN: We are all obsessed with the weather. It impacts pretty much everything we do. We are a hardy bunch and we will do it anyway, but it’s nice to know how to prepare for the day.
QUESTION 8: What does “Our City” mean to you?
JESSE: Progression. I think this city is at the start of a MAJOR expansion. Over the next few years, Edmonton will be the new hot spot in Canada.
MIKE: When I think of Edmonton, I think of a friendly, charitable, volunteer-driven city situated on one of the most beautiful river valleys in the world.
MARGEAUX: Edmonton is my home. I’ve lived here for nearly my entire life. When I didn’t live here, I missed the culture and sense community that is so uniquely ours.
Working for Global News in my home town is so cool to me. When I am driving to work, I like to take the hill down 98 Ave. That shot of our skyline reminds me of all the people that hold me accountable to delivering an accurate forecast.
KEVIN: Edmonton is an amazing city. I’ve been able to live in many cities across Canada and I am proud to call Edmonton home. We have it all: sports, art, music and theatre. There are so many generous people and organizations in this city it’s hard to not be proud of coming from a place like Edmonton.
QUESTION 9: One weather-related word to describe the Global News Weather Team?
JESSE: Explosive Cyclogenesis! We’re going to blow up big and fast. Before you know it… it’ll be all Global Weather, all the time!
MIKE: No Turbulence, because we get along so well.
MARGEAUX: Storm track: What any one of us leaves behind when we head down to the weather centre to prepare a show!
KEVIN: Clear and Stable: We have your weather forecasts made for you to understand all the time.
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