WTVQ Chief Meteorologist Jason Myers has fond memories of Lexington long before he moved here in the spring of 2013; memories made while his father earned a doctorate of ministry at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore. “I remember coming up to the Lexington area and exploring Central Kentucky with my family when I was growing up,” he said. Today, his father is a Methodist minister back home near Winston-Salem, NC.
Growing up, Myers played plenty of sports, including football, basketball, tennis, and baseball. Academically, math and science were his favorites, which made him a natural to study meteorology. His first taste of meteorology was in the third grade. Myers’ science project focused on the weather. “I took a weather class at Discovery Place Science Museum in Charlotte, NC. I made my own homemade weather station and ended up getting 1st place in the science fair that year,” he recalled.
Armed with the honor of a first place win as a child coupled with witnessing some headline making storms during his young life, Myers’ career path was developing its own momentum early in his life. First event to catch his eye was Hurricane Hugo in 1989. When the eye of the storm hit landfall in the Carolinas it brought destructive history making winds and widespread damage.
“I can remember the night that Hugo passed over the Charlotte area, and the sound of the gusty winds and trees snapping and falling over. Thankfully, no tree hit our house. We were without power for over a week, and some folks were without power for nearly two weeks,” he said.
In middle school, while he was vacationing with friends at Ocean Isle Beach, NC, Myers witnessed a waterspout, which is a weak tornado over the water, as he was walking along the beach one morning. “That was a neat memory!” he said. Then there was the “Great Blizzard of 1993”. A highly memorable weather event for the kids in North Carolina as it was more snow than any of them had ever seen in their young lives which made for many missed days of school and plenty of fun playing in the snow.
Myers earned a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology with a Communication Concentration from North Carolina State University in 2003. During his college years he was able to intern with Chief Meteorologist Van Denton at FOX8/WGHP in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro/High Point market. Myers describes Van Denton as a “meteorology mentor” who was able to give Jason some real-world experience in the TV business.
Myers was also a student meteorologist for the student produced news show, “Carolina Week”, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism. “I had looked into other avenues with meteorology beside TV, such as the military and aviation, yet being able to gain some real-world TV experience through my internship and “Carolina Week”, really solidified my interest in going the broadcast meteorology route,” he said.
Myers landed his first job working for the Federal Aviation Administration. As a National Weather Service certified weather observer, he was responsible for providing hourly weather reports to the air traffic control tower at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. “The control tower already has a stressful enough job, so we would strive to make sure they knew the latest weather information at all times,” he said.
First stop in Myers’ career in broadcast meteorologist job was in the west Texas town of Abilene in an area of the state known as “Big Country.” It was there Myers learned a lot about tracking severe weather including tornadoes. After two years in Texas, Myers moved to Richmond, VA where he spent the next seven years as the meteorologist at the ABC affiliate. “Richmond, VA has four distinct seasons, and is a lot like Lexington, KY with weather, yet Richmond received more tropical systems, since it is located closer to the coast,” he said.
In Lexington, it’s snow that is building his weather memories and his expertise. “The most challenging weather for our area, is usually snow events. There are so many variables that can make a big difference with snow events, such as the temperature at different layers throughout the atmosphere, snowfall rates and duration, and the track the winter system will take,” he said. The diversity in the coverage area keeps Myers on his toes. “The ABC 36 viewing area can have everything ranging from rain to nearly a foot of snow, so being able to pinpoint where heavy snow bands will set up is very important and also very challenging,” Myers said.
When Myers isn’t working he takes advantage of the four seasons in Kentucky and heads outdoors with his wife Jillian and their four kids, Andrew, Lilly, Luke and Lydia. “My family and I love getting outside and enjoying the beauty of Central Kentucky, from biking along the Legacy Trail, to hiking in the Red River Gorge, to camping at one of the Kentucky State Parks, to fishing and kayaking along one of the local rivers or lakes,” he said. The Kentucky Horse Park is another one of their favorite family day trip destinations.
Family is important to Myers.
“Being a dad to four kids takes up most of my free time, whether it’s cheering on my son’s basketball team, or supporting one of my daughter’s gymnastics or horseback riding routines,” he said.
He and his wife also make time for date nights and enjoy exploring all the different local restaurants in Lexington. Oh, and about his wife. “I actually met my wife, Jillian, when we were toddlers, so we were family friends and then started dating in college, when I attend North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and Jillian was at Meredith College in Raleigh,” he said. Myers full house is rounded out with two canine members of the family, Calvin a Shiba Inu, and Summer, an English Setter.
Myers says he is privileged to be able to live and work as a meteorologist in a part of the country as beautiful as central Kentucky. He is also honored to have won the “WeatheRate” award for the most accurate forecast in Central Kentucky for the past three years, a recognition he shares with the entire ABC 36 weather team. “It is due to the dedication and love we have for our viewers and the folks of central and eastern Kentucky. Keeping you and your family safe from severe weather is our utmost importance, yet we also want to be the weather source you can turn to for the most accurate and dependable weather forecast each and every day,” Myers said.