Mike Seidel still at the center of the weather


Watching Mike Seidel knee deep in an ocean turned rough by a hurricane can be a little unnerving, but the veteran meteorologist isn’t concerned.

“I never put myself in danger. The only thing that worries me is lightning. Hurricanes, snow storms, don’t bother me. If a hurricane is going to be that bad, we evacuate. We don’t put ourselves in danger,” the 60-year-old Salisbury native said during a recent telephone conversation from his home in Georgia.

Seidel, who once broadcast weather for WBOC-TV and was heard on several local radio stations, this year is celebrating his 25th anniversary at The Weather Channel in Atlanta, where there was a party in his honor and a video package of his career highlights was assembled.

The Marietta, Ga., resident aspired to work for the national channel and when he started in 1992, was seen by viewers in 55 million homes.

“It topped at over 100 million,” he said.

He’s had more than 19,200 live shots on the air and covered “too many storms to count” since going on the road with a camera crew in 1996.

“My first four years were strictly in the studio. Now I am always on call, 24-7. I’m the first one to go out. I love the field work. I love the adrenalin rush. It’s definitely a fix. On the field it’s busy, 16, 18 hours. The travel can take more out of you than the actual work,” he said.

Often, he’s asked about his most frightening moments.

“I get asked that all the time. My blanket answer is lightning. Occasionally you’ll be out and a lightning bolt gets too close. It’s happened maybe three times in 20 years,” he said.

“I love my job but I can’t see myself doing this full time in 10 years. When I’m on the road I might get four or five hours of sleep a night. Last winter, I spent five days in sub-zero temperatures. It took me over a week to get my strength back,” he said.

“I have no plans to retire, but I don’t know how many more years I can continue at this pace. I’ve spent a lot of time away from my family and missed a lot of the kids’ events,” he told the Salisbury Independent.

A graduate of Salisbury University in the days when it was known as Salisbury State College, Seidel was 6 years old when he started measuring snowfall in his yard. Later, he built a weather station on the roof of his house. Many locals remember him as the handsome young man standing before cameras on WBOC-TV, where he worked from August 1989 until January 1992.

“My first TV job was at WMDT, in ’80, ’81, ’82. I worked in Greenville, S.C., from 1983 to 1989,” he said.

Four local radio stations employed him during his high school and college years — WJDY-AM in Salisbury, WDMV-AM in Pocomoke City, and WKHI-FM in Ocean City and WSUX-FM in Seaford.

After college graduation, he was hired by WMDT-TV. In graduate school, he wrote his master’s thesis under the director of Dr. Greg Forbes, now The Weather Channel’s expert on severe weather.

For the Weather Channel, Seidel covered his first storm, Hurricane Edouard, Labor Day weekend 1996 on Cape Cod. Since then, he’s covered more than 60 tropical storms and hurricanes, nor’easters, snow and ice storms and tornados, according to his Wikipedia page.

He’s reported live from the PGA Tour, Baseball All-Star Game, World Series and Indianapolis 500. From 2002 to 2012, he hosted the National Football League’s Kickoff Forecast segments on Sunday mornings from NFL venues. He’s been on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, The Early Show, CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline, and World News Show and reported breaking weather live from MSNBC, Cable News Network and Fox News Channel.

He filled in for Tony Perkins on Good Morning America in 2003 and for Al Roker on The Today Show in 2009 and was the first Weather Channel and U.S. meteorologist to report live from Cuba during coverage of Tropical Storm Isaac in August 2012.

Married to Christine Schroder and the father of two children, Seidel doesn’t get back to Salisbury as often as he did before his mother, Marilyn Seidel, died nearly two years ago, but sometimes vacations in the area.

“She was always there for us and she was very proud of her kids and her eight grandchildren,” he told the Salisbury Independent at the time of her death. “My mother hardly ever missed me on the TV.  She followed me. She would say, ‘Where will you be today?’” he remembered.

“I love what I’m doing. I’ve been doing this for so long I never thought about anything else. I pretty much have fulfilled all my professional goals,” Seidel said.

“This is not for the faint of heart, but I have been live in 45 states. I took my hobby of meteorology and melded it with radio when I was in high school, then I was on TV, then on the Weather Channel. I travel 150-plus days a year. I’ve been very fortunate to have a hobby that developed into a career. If you’re going to work every day you really should do something you like,” he said.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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