Chief Meteorologist Tony Mainolfi talks hurricanes at DSC

Christina Lavris
In Motion Staff Writer

Students and faculty were given a better understanding of hurricane season and weather reporting when four-time Emmy-nominated meteorologist Tony Mainolfi visited Daytona State’s Madorsky Theater in the Hosseini Center.

SGA President Sofia Rivas gives a short bio about Tony Mainolfi as she introduces the audience.
SGA President Sofia Rivas gives a short bio about Tony Mainolfi as she introduces the audience.

Ironically enough, his original date of the presentation was cancelled due to the rage of Hurricane Irma, which stampeded across Central Florida Sept. 10. Mainolfi, who has been with WESH-Channel 2 News since 2005, toured the Hosseini Center Nov. 3, then mingled with attendees prior to the lecture, even taking the time to have pictures taken with fans.

During the hour-long lecture, Mainolfi gave a quick overview of Hurricane Irma and how it impacted the area. He also provided information about what water temperatures are needed to brew monstrous storms.

“The magical number for tropical developments is 80 degrees or higher,” said Mainolfi, explaining how the recent cooler weather has brought water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and along Florida’s east coast low enough to hinder tropical storm development.

Around 2 a.m. Sept. 10 when transformers began to blow in the Orlando area, Mainolfi noted that mobile viewership increased.

“Even after losing power, when cellphone towers were still operable, people could get an idea on what was going on with the weather through the WESH app,” said Mainolfi.

Mainolfi ended his talk with the audience in a question-and-answer period, covering a wide range of topics from climate change to the technological advances in meteorology, as well as information and tips for college students looking to explore the field of meteorology.

“There’s a lot of math, a lot of science, you basically come away with math, chemistry, and physics minors,” he said.

He also encouraged students in all fields of study to look into internships. “Internships help you figure out what career path within your career path you want to go.”

Mainolfi’s visit was organized by Director of Campus Safety Bill Tillard and SGA president Sofia Rivas. He was initially scheduled to visit the campus in October, but the event was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

“We’ve been planning this months ahead, before Irma came,” said Rivas, who is graduating with her AA in May. “Bill reached out to me, I worked on a flier and spread it around campus. Tony Mainolfi had actually come to this campus years ago, so it’s not his first time here.”

Tony Mainolfi received his bachelor’s in meteorology from the State University of New York at Albany. He has worked for both CNN and The Weather Channel, and prior to joining WESH 2 was chief meteorologist at WCHS-TV in Charleston,  W.Va for nine years. He has been nominated for four Emmys, including one for his coverage of the deadly, area Groundhog Day tornado outbreak of 2011. WESH has been rated as having the most accurate weather forecasts in the area for over eight consecutive years by Kansas City based WeatheRate.
For important tips on preparing for a hurricane, Mainolfi suggests the free WESH 2 Hurricane Survival Guide, available for download at http://www.wesh.com/article/hurricane-season-2017-a-wesh-2-first-alert-weather-survival-guide/9956101.