Meet Kari Hall, Meteorologist at NBC Bay Area News
Q: What made you decide to go in the field of telling the weather?
KH: Weather always has been my passion. As a child, I would tell people I wanted to be a meteorologist and they would say…well, that’s different! I grew up in Louisville, KY where there’s extreme cold, lots of snow, flooding, drought, crazy storms, and extreme heat. The wide range of weather through the year raised my curiosity about why it occurs. I began reaching out to local meteorologists about how they got to their positions. I found that many meteorologists graduated from Mississippi State University. So that’s where I went. I’m a proud Bulldog with a degree in Geosciences with an emphasis in Broadcast Meteorology.
Q: How many years have you been a Meteorologist?
KH: I’ve been a meteorologist for 14 years. Wow! Amazing to say that because time has flown by! My career began in Lafayette, LA. I was there for 6 years and briefly worked in Alexandria, LA. Then I moved an hour from my hometown to Lexington, KY to become a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter. During my time there in 2012, an historic tornado outbreak hit eastern KY and killed 20 people. I covered that tragedy and was deeply touched by the way the communities came together to comfort each other and recover from the damage. That renewed my sense of purpose to help keep people safe in severe weather.
Just three years later I landed an evening weekday meteorologist position at News12 Connecticut. I had the opportunity to forecast Nor’easters and learn about New England weather. Living outside of New York City was exciting but a bit of a shock to this girl who has lived in small cities and rural areas most of her life. The chance to move to California came up and I didn’t think twice. It’s always been a dream that I thought was out of reach but by the grace of God, I’m here! I’ve forecast weather from coast to coast.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
KH: My alarm goes off at 2:30am. I read a few Bible verses and start my day with prayer before getting ready quietly so I don’t wake up my family. A short drive to the studio in San Jose and my first order of business is making coffee in the break room. Coffee is a necessity while looking over the previous day’s weather and computer models. I forecast for more than 40 cities and create graphics to tell my weather story. After checking in with the newsroom to get the plans for the newscast, I quickly slap on some makeup and style my hair for a show start at 4:30. My weather hits are about 5 minutes apart until Today in the Bay ends at 7. It’s a lot of running back and forth from my desk to the weather wall and news desk. In between I’m posting to social media and making new graphics. At 7am there’s about a 15 minute break to get a snack and more coffee. The Today Show live weather updates are until 9 am with tosses from Al Roker every 20 minutes or so.
During my break I like to get in a workout at our gym at the station or go for a walk. It breaks up the work day and gives me an energy boost for the mid-day newscast at 11. I’m walking out the door at noon to begin the most hectic part of my day…taking care of my family! My mom cares for my 6 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I help fix them lunch and clean up. If I’m super drained I will take a power nap to make it through the rest of the day. The afternoon is filled with cooking, cleaning, chasing my toddler, keeping my son on task with homework, reading, playtime, baths, and bedtime. I crash at 8:30 and do it all over again the next day.
Q: When you’re out and about and people recognize you … is there that one question you always get asked?
KH: “Hey Kari! How’s the weather?” It’s so funny that most people say the same thing. Or they’re trying to figure out how they know me. I love putting a face to the viewers who welcome me into their homes each morning. And people in the Bay Area are super friendly!
Q: Can you share a few career highlights you’ve had?
KH: My career highlights come every single day! I work with such a motivating team who all inspire me by the way we work together and get things done. It seems like we have some kind of groundbreaking event at least once a week. When the puzzle pieces begin moving there’s a beautiful picture created all for the service of the community. Whether it’s breaking news or inconvenient weather, our careers are dedicated to keeping everyone informed and prepared. The appreciation from viewers is an accomplishment. Daily, I get compliments and feedback on social media. Knowing that I am helping someone’s day get started on the right foot is huge!
Q: In your years of covering weather, what is the one weather event that you will never forget?
KH: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It was 2005 when the two storms roared in just 3 weeks apart. Those hurricanes changed the history and landscape of Louisiana. While covering the aftermath I went out in a boat with rescue teams. Seeing homes under water, stranded cows and horses, and the destruction are images still very vivid in my mind. Also interviewing people who lost loved ones or what they’ve worked for their whole lives is unforgettable. But I also think about the outpouring of support from the whole country and how far Louisiana has come today in rebuilding.
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
KH: First, there aren’t that many of us broadcast meteorologists. A recent study found that less than 30 percent of TV weathercasters are women. And only 8 percent are chief meteorologists. There’s an ongoing fight for credibility and proving our knowledge to doubters all the time.
The pay gap is one of the biggest challenges women face not only in the media but in all career fields. We are increasingly carrying the financial burden for our families and doing it with less money. We must keep fighting for equal work, equal pay.
I’m so happy to see the movement and action against sexual harassment and misconduct. This has been the other main challenge women face in the workforce. There’s still a long way to go but the mold has been broken.
Q: Do you have any advice you can share for those women who may want to pursue a career as a Meteorologist?
KH: Go for it! If you have a passion for weather, we need you here. It’s going to be tough and you have to have thick skin. Women are not only needed on television but in research and operational meteorology.
Q: What do you like the most about living in the Bay Area?
KH: You know how a meteorologist would answer this question…the weather! It’s amazing and keeps me on my toes. Forecasting microclimates is a challenge I’m up for. And you can’t beat the beauty you see at every turn in the Bay Area.
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work-life balance?
KH: It’s a juggling act. Sometimes I drop a ball or two but I’m not too hard on myself. I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband and mother. It would be impossible to work my hours and keep up with the demands of my career without them.
Five Things About Kari Hall
1. What book are you currently reading?
The Bible. Right now, it’s the only book I make time for and gives the greatest wisdom on the daily challenges of life.
2. What’s your favorite Movie?
I’m not a huge movie buff. As a busy mom, it’s hard for me to sit still for 2 hours and watch a movie. In fact I don’t watch much TV at all. When I try to catch up on shows like “Empire” or “Queen Sugar” I’m walking in and out of the room while it plays. It’s hard to pay attention with my kids screaming and crashing trucks.
3. Where's your dream vacation?
I actually just took my dream vacation to Hawaii. I visited the island of Oahu and had an awesome time! I can’t wait to go visit more of the Hawaiian Islands. I think Maui is on my list next.
4. Do you enjoy cooking? If so, can you share some of your favorite meals you enjoy making?
Am I southern? Of course, I enjoy cooking! My mother and I love to make rum cake and bourbon balls for the holidays. On the weekends I enjoy making biscuits from scratch with a whole spread of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and grits. I picked up a lot of my skills in Louisiana. Red beans and rice, gumbo, and jambalaya are family favorites. I mix up dinner with tacos, stir fry, pasta, seafood, or whatever I’m in the mood for. Unfortunately, my son mainly eats chicken nuggets and pizza. Good thing the rest of my family likes a variety of food!
5. Who’s been the biggest influence in your life?
My mom has always been the biggest influence in my life. She worked hard to provide for my brother and me to make sure we graduated from college. Now my mother is like my best friend and helps care for my children.