Every year around this time, the parent company of Five-Hour Energy likely notices a drop in its stock price because of WFAA weatherman Pete Delkus.
That’s when he’s stocking up on gear for his annual marathon of weather broadcasts for the (hopefully) only snowstorm Dallas-Fort Worth will have in the winter.
“I stay awake all the time,” says Delkus from the new Channel 8 newsroom. morning for 30 minutes. When I walked into the weather center I was groggy and oh my god there’s gonna be a tornado warning and it took me a minute to get out of that fog.”
Delkus says the bulk of the work for his marathon snowstorm coverage begins long before the snow begins to fall. Sometimes people get unfair. They take to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustration with the storm, and Delkus just happens to be in their crosshairs.
An old photo of a Zoli sign expressing his rage at the weatherman seems to be making the rounds this year and even caught Delkus’ attention on Facebook.
There are many misconceptions about Delkus’ work, aside from the fact that he only reports and doesn’t actually control the weather.
“In the TV business, people think you only work when you’re on TV,” he says. “Like athletes, people only see when you’re playing the game. The reality is that all the hard work happens before the game starts.”
For Delkus, the gain is when he manages to interrupt the regular programming and present himself in front of the weather map.
“Being on TV is the fun part,” says Delkus. “You get paid to talk.”
Of course, things are considerably different with this year’s storm. Last year, the air temperature in Dallas dropped to 1 degree Fahrenheit and the cold lasted for five days, according to NASA weather data.
Things can get a bit heavy when the weather conditions become more dangerous. Last year’s winter storm led to an alarming number of power outages across the state as the power grid crashed in record high temperatures.
“That’s when we have a responsibility,” says Delkus. “Like this official, we are here to help people be safe, to protect their families and all. It is a responsibility that none of us take too lightly, but we certainly accept and understand the burden of this one if you will.”
Even without a good amount of sleep, Delkus says he relishes the opportunity to inform his shivering viewers who make him a local trending topic on Twitter every year.
“It’s good job security,” Delkus laughs. “That’s what you hope for. You never planned on doing this, but it’s a fun part of the job when you know you have people who trust you and rely on you for information. C is important to me, but it’s also nice to put a smile on someone’s face.”