1. Local Weather

WFLA hires Jeff Berardelli as new chief meteorologist

He’ll step into the role formerly held by Steve Jerve, a beloved leader in Tampa Bay storm coverage.
WFLA announced its new Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist, Jeff Berardelli.
WFLA announced its new Max Defender 8 Chief Meteorologist, Jeff Berardelli. [ Courtesy of WFLA-TV, Ch. 8 ]
Published Nov. 30, 2021|Updated Dec. 2, 2021

Starting January 15, a new, yet familiar, face will guide storm coverage for WFLA-TV, Ch. 8. The station has named Jeff Berardelli as the chief meteorologist of its Max Defender 8 weather team.

Berardelli succeeds beloved chief meteorologist Steve Jerve, who retired in August after four decades at the station. Meteorologist Rebecca Barry had been filling in for Jerve in the interim.

While Berardelli’s most recent position was reporting on climate as a CBS New York meteorologist, he has plenty of experience covering extreme Florida weather. According to a news release from WFLA, Berardelli guided national coverage for CBS News during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and Hurricane Michael in 2018. His resume includes stints in Miami and West Palm Beach, and from 1997 to 2003 he worked in the Tampa Bay market for Bay News 9 and WTSP-TV, Ch. 10.

“This career has enabled me to live in various cities and gain valuable experience, but I’ve always dreamed of returning to the community where I feel most at home — the Tampa Bay area,” Berardelli said in the release. “Today I am overjoyed to finally have the opportunity to bring my experience back home and help guide our News Channel 8 community through future hurricane seasons.”

According to WFLA, Berardelli earned a Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology at Cornell University and a master’s degree in climate at Columbia University. He’ll move back to the Tampa Bay region at the start of the year, bringing along his wife Christy and their newborn daughter, Grace.

“As a new father, my wife and I are looking forward to raising our newborn daughter In Tampa,” Berardelli said. “And as an avid fisherman, boater and diver I’m looking forward to getting back out on the water.”


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