With spring comes sunshine, blossoms and color galore, but in Alabama, the arrival of spring also signifies the start to a terrifying storm season. Throughout the years, numerous tornadoes have torn through Alabama’s cities leaving destruction and wreckage in their paths, but there is one man who stands at the forefront of preparing, protecting and providing the Heart of Dixie with the most up-to-date predictions and warnings — James Spann.
James Spann is undeniably the go-to source for any and all Alabama weather scenarios, especially during tornado season, and with last week’s dangerous storms, we wanted to speak with ABC 33/40’s Chief Meteorologist to get to know the man behind the screen a little better. So, we’ve rounded up 10 little-known facts about our favorite suspender-wearing meteorologist and asked him a few of our favorite questions. We bet you didn’t know these facts about James Spann! And remember to always, always #RespectThePolygon!
10 Little-Known Facts about James Spann
- In December 2006, James Spann won an Emmy Award for his coverage of the deadly Tuscaloosa tornadoes. Again, in June 2014, he received an Emmy Award for Best Television Weather Anchor in the Southeast and was elected to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in 2013. This represents outstanding achievement spanning at least 25 years in the broadcast industry.
- In April 1998, after a tornado warning was issued for western Jefferson County, Spann remained on television for ten straight hours.
- James Spann has been named the state’s best weather anchor over nine times by the Associated Press. He has received the two highest awards in the nation for broadcast meteorologists, “Broadcaster of the Year” by the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society Award for Broadcast Meteorology.
- At age 23, James Spann was hired as Chief Weatherman at WAPI-TV, despite having no formal weather education. He was one of the youngest chief weathermen in the country.
- Spann was one of the first weather anchors in the nation to earn “Certified Broadcast Meteorologist” status from the American Meteorological Society.
- The University of West Alabama conferred an honorary doctor of law degree to James in 2013.
- He is in the Theta Tau professional engineering fraternity Alumni Hall of Fame and The University of Alabama School of Communication Hall of Fame.
- A longtime member of Hunter Street Baptist Church, James Spann leads children’s worship every Sunday at Double Oak Community Church.
- James received his first ham radio license at the age of 14. He enjoys amateur radio and tennis in his spare time.
- James Spann has been married to his wife for over 36 years! He has served as the Chief Meteorologist on ABC 33/40 for over 21 years and as a television weather anchorman for over 39 years.
And, to get to know James Spann even better, we asked a few of our favorite questions…
What is your ideal dinner date?
Any time spent with my wife. I work brutal hours and don’t get to see her enough.
Do you have any irrational fears?
I am not afraid of really anything, except lightning. It scares me to death. Lightning is frightening.
What is your perfect weather for the rest of time?
Cloudy, cold and 42 degrees.
If you had a billboard, what would it say?
“Read the blog.” For those who don’t know, the Alabama Weather Blog provides the most up-to-date information on all Alabama weather situations.
If you could go back 10 years and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Remember that it’s not about me. We are here to serve others. When you realize that, that is when life gets good.
Do you have an especially memorable story from the aftermath of a storm?
This happened this week. I posted the message from Ashley Mims on my Facebook page and have no doubt, people, seeing Loryn’s face forced them to take the threat on Monday, March 19, seriously. We had 15 tornadoes and not a single person died.
A huge THANK YOU to James Spann for answering our questions, providing these images and allowing us to share these facts with our readers. Alabama is overwhelmingly grateful to have you. Your impact on this state, especially during severe storm threats, is immeasurable. THANK YOU, JAMES!
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