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16 October 2014
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Derek Brockway

Weather Presenter

Why weather:
I have always been fascinated by the weather and used to drive my parents bonkers watching all the weather reports. All through school, it became my ambition to work with the weather. Neighbours and friends would ask me the weather forecast before going on holidays or before hanging the washing on the line!

How it started:
I took A levels in Maths, Physics and Geology. Maths and Physics are really important in this job. People always think Geography is the most important, but actually you need to understand the science.

When I left school, the Met Office took me on as an observer, working mainly at Cardiff Weather Centre, with spells at Cardiff Airport, Birmingham Airport, and the Falkland Islands. I was observing weather for RAF aircraft - Tornadoes, Hercules, Sea Kings, Chinooks.

I’m employed by the Met Office which works closely with the military, supplying weather information. As a forecaster, I could be sent to any military base in the UK or abroad, and, if working for the RAF, I would be the equivalent of a Flight Lieutenant.

Work in ‘The Smoke':
In London I had my first taste of TV, broadcasting on GMTV in 1996, looking at the weather of the UK in full. I was very nervous to be on national television, so it was a good job they were broadcast early on a Sunday morning!

BBC Wales:
I joined the BBC Wales Today team, replacing Helen Willetts as the main weather presenter, and have been here ever since! As well as preparing and presenting the lunchtime and nightly TV forecasts for BBC Wales Today, I also present weather bulletins for BBC Radio Wales.

The job itself:
I come in mid-morning and spend the day preparing the charts, the satellite and radar pictures and speaking to the Chief Forecaster. It’s not just a case of turning up and presenting.

My trick to calm my nerves is to be well-prepared, but I always feel that you have to have adrenalin to feel the buzz.

Highlight:
I appeared on BBC’s ‘Auntie’s Bloomers’, reading the weather from an open top bus during the rugby World Cup, chatting about rain and strong winds, when the huge umbrella I was sheltering under was hurled like a javelin across the road. No one was hurt, but it was a moment I will never forget.

Lows:
I check the weather in the morning to see if my forecast has been right. If I’m wrong, I’m like a bear with a sore head, but if everything has gone according to plan, I feel on cloud 9.

Tips from the top:
Knuckle down and work hard in school. Good qualifications make life much easier. These days, a good degree in a science-based subject is a must, although the Met Office does encourage further study for those who have lesser qualifications. If you see yourself going in front of the camera, a drama course would be beneficial - you need to be a performer, as well as a scientist. Television is team work and for this job you have to be good with people.

Any other tales out of school:
I was always well-behaved - and if you believe that you’ll believe anything including my forecasts!!

 
Cymraeg (Welsh)

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