Take Eight with Danielle Vollmar
We think she may have the toughest job around — a meteorologist. In New England.
As we brace for more winter weather, Danielle Vollmar, a StormTeam 5 meteorologist for WCVB-TV Channel 5, tells us what it’s really like on the front lines of sleet, snow, rain and, occasionally, sunshine.
1. Do you get mostly love letters or hate mail?
I get mostly love letters, however, when I do receive “hate mail” it does make an impression on me. I wish it was easier to block out the negativity, but what can I say, I am human!
2. Did you grow up wanting to be a meteorologist?
I have always had a love for weather, but I decided to become a meteorologist in 8th grade when my local chief meteorologist in Philadelphia, Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz, came to my school for Career Day. Let’s just say I was hooked and knew my calling. Now, I try to return the favor by visiting schools and trying to inspire students
3. One word to describe New England weather:
4. What was it like going from reporting weather in Dallas to New England?
I would say the big difference would be the type of storms we forecast and what time of year can make the biggest impact. In Dallas, the big thing is severe weather and tornadoes in the spring. In New England, it is all about the winter and snowstorms. For example, the 2014-2015 winter was the snowiest in Boston on record.
5. Name three things you have with you at all times:
I always have Diet Pepsi to keep me awake since I work in the middle of the night, and I also love to snack on Cheez-Its. Lately, I’ve been spotted with a bridal magazine since I am recently engaged and getting married in June!
6. What’s it like to work a big storm? Are you there all night? Do you go without sleep for days?
For a passionate weather fanatic like myself, it is awesome. We pack enough clothes to be on TV for three days, both in the studio and out in the field. The day before the storm I am in the studio double-teaming with our meteorologist Cindy [Fitzgibbon]. Then I’ll typically drive out to a location where they expect the worst conditions and grab a quick nap before reporting from the storm, which can last up to 12 hours at times. I normally go out live the next morning from the “jackpot” location. When I’m finished, I reward myself with a nap. This time, a long one!
7. Take us behind the scenes of school cancellations. What is the newsroom like?
I actually am not a part of this operation, however, there are a lot of people working as a team to get the information out there as fast as possible.
8. What is the worst weather you’ve ever seen?
I had to work through a couple of tornado outbreaks while I was in Oklahoma City. After being on television for 12 hours straight and warning many people of tornadoes on the ground, I reported live from the damaged areas. It was always incredibly hard to meet people who had lost everything, and to see their homes torn to shreds in front of me was definitely an emotional task for everyone involved. However, despite the destruction, the people I met were always so grateful just to be alive. It was inspiring and always put things in perspective.
Bonus Question: What is a popular misconception about meteorologists?
I think most people think I come to work and someone does my hair and make-up and picks out my wardrobe. This could not be further from the truth. We all do our own hair and makeup and, yes, we pick out our own clothes and have to purchase them. TV is not as glamorous as many think, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I love forecasting the weather!