For almost nine and a half years, it has been an honor and pleasure to serve as Chief Meteorologist at New Jersey 101.5 and Townsquare Media New Jersey.

There are very few people in the world who confidently declare their future job at the age of 11, and then follow through with it. I consider myself very lucky to have found my calling and passion so early in life.

Working as a radio and digital meteorologist for Townsquare is truly a "dream job." Every day, I get to exercise my entire set of weather knowledge, communication skills, and technical know-how. All in an effort to tell the never-ending story of New Jersey's wild weather.

Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Dan Zarrow
Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Dan Zarrow
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Every February 5th, we celebrate National Weatherperson's Day. Yes, it's a real holiday! In honor of John Jeffries, one of America's first weather observers.

On this holiest of meteorological holidays, I wanted to reflect and share some of my "why". Trust me, there's a lot to hate about being a broadcast meteorologist: The demanding hours (especially when the weather gets feisty), along with the stress of meeting strict deadlines and reaching unattainable goals. But I always remind myself why I love my job at the end of the day. It really breaks down to three big reasons.

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1.) The Challenge

I have never been one to shy away from ambitious pursuits, from attending an Ivy League university to chasing tornadoes in the South Plains. And conquering the ever-changing weather puzzle of New Jersey is one doozy of a challenge.

However, forecasting the weather is only half of my job.

Dan Zarrow in the weather center, in storm coverage mode. (Note the hoodie.) (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
Dan Zarrow in the weather center, in storm coverage mode. (Note the hoodie.) (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
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The more difficult aspect of my job — also my favorite and the most-rewarding part — is communicating that forecast. A meteorologist is probably the only "science" many New Jerseyans experience on a regular basis. I have to figure out the best way to make my weathercasts informative, educational, and entertaining, so my audience will fully understand and relate.

2.) My Coworkers

Across my 16-year career as a professional meteorologist, from TV stations to radio stations, I have discovered one enduring similarity. The people are awesome.

The morning show crew, circa December 2019. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
The morning show crew, circa December 2019. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
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The journalists, producers, engineers, and support personnel I've worked with are among my closest friends and confidants. That list also includes my fellow meteorologists, colleagues through thick and thin.

If only you could hear the conversations that happen behind-the-scenes, when the microphones are off...

3.) You

Yes, I get a paycheck for the work I do. (Yes, I even get paid when the forecast is wrong, as the stereotypical criticism goes.) And yes, I need that money to feed my four children and keep a roof over their heads.

At the same time though, the big reason I work tirelessly and endlessly is for my listeners. My ultimate goal is to keep you informed about the weather over the coming day and week. But it's also to help keep you safe when things turn inclement or even dangerous. That is important stuff. And I take that responsibility very seriously.

NJ1015 Morning Show/Townsquare Media
NJ1015 Morning Show/Townsquare Media
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What I love most about this weird meteorologist-listener relationship is personally getting out in the community. I get to have amazing experiences and interact with my fellow New Jerseyans, at station promotional events or school/community talks (my absolute favorite thing to do). It is the best way to renew my passion for the job and the weather, and to remind myself of this very important "why".

Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media
Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media
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(Unfortunately, the demands of the job and of fatherhood limit such opportunities these days. But if you have a program or event for which I might be a good fit for a visit, appearance, or weather talk, please don't hesitate to reach out via email at dan.zarrow@townsquaremedia.com.

Dan Zarrow preparing to give a weather talk to hundreds of students in Pemberton, N.J. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
Dan Zarrow preparing to give a weather talk to hundreds of students in Pemberton, N.J. (Dan Zarrow, Townsquare Media)
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What's Not on the List

I do want to mention a few things that are absolutely not among my favorite parts of the job.

My 1:30 a.m. alarm clock.

Trolls and haters.

Writing, writing, and writing until my fingers ache.

The weather.

Surprised about that last one? Look, I love a good thunderstorm, snow storm, or hurricane. But I never ever get to truly enjoy and appreciate Mother Nature's fury, since I am always so engrossed in forecasting and covering it. Ahh, the plight of a weatherperson!

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Happy National Weatherperson's Day, one and all!

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Check out Dan's weather blog or follow him on Facebook for your latest weather forecast updates.

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