CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 names Orlando forecaster Jim Van Fleet as new chief meteorologist
Facing a series of departures in its weather department during hurricane season, area CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 has addressed one issue, naming Orlando forecaster Jim Van Fleet to take over as chief meteorologist at the station.
He will replace former chief Tammie Souza, who left WTSP in January. And it's a hire that's sorely needed; forecasters Chris Suchan and Sherry Ray Hughes are both scheduled to leave the station in September, leaving Bobby Deskins as the longest tenured weather forecaster with just two and a half years spent at the station.
But there is a catch. Van Fleet -- now at Fox affiliate WOFL-TV, apparently without a seal of approval from the prestigious American Meteorological Society -- won't start at WTSP until December 1, long after Suchan and Hughes are gone.
It's a long way from the days of former chief Dick Fletcher, who worked at WTSP for nearly 30 years before his death after a stroke in 2008. It's also unusual for the Tampa TV market, where rival affiliates all have weather departments led by forecasters with long tenures at their stations.
I'll have more details after talking to the executives at WTSP; below is the press release WTSP just issued.
Veteran Florida Meteorologist Joins 10 News - WTSP
August 11, 2011 -- 10 News, Tampa Bay’s News Leader, announced Jim Van Fleet will join the 10 News Weather Team as Chief Meteorologist on December 1st.
Van Fleet comes to 10 News from WOFL/Orlando where he logged 10 years of Florida forecasting experience. Prior to WOFL/Orlando, Van Fleet held Meteorologist positions in Dallas, Waco and Amarillo, Texas; beginning his career at KOTV in Tulsa. Van Fleet has held an interest in weather since his days of chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma.
“Jim is not only a seasoned pro at forecasting Florida weather and guiding people through hurricanes, but viewers seem to really relate to him,” said Peter Roghaar, News Director. “He delivers a very easy-to-understand forecast that lets people know how the weather will impact their day,” he added.
Van Fleet earned the National Weather Association's "Television Seal of Approval" in March of 1998 and is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. He studied meteorology and climatology at Baylor University and Tulsa Junior College.