18-year-old senior at duPont Manual High School, knows
what he's going to study in college -- meteorology.
is already working on his camera presence as a weatherman on his Web
Each Saturday, Ryan, who lives with his parents
and siblings near Fisherville,
heads for the upstairs loft near his bedroom to shoot his own
three-minute weather segment.
then edits it and uploads it to his Web site and Vimeo, a video-sharing
site similar to YouTube. His forecast is seen by 200 to 300 people a
think this is number 83
or 84, so I've almost got it
down to a science now. ... No notes, no TelePrompTer. It's all up
there," Hoke said, pointing to his head after delivering his video
forecast on Jan. 3.
also creates his own
professional-looking graphics, which
are displayed on a high-definition TV screen
behind him, along with radar images and the seven-day forecast.
saves the "long,
drawn-out explanations" of atmospheric
science for his blog, ryanweather.blogspot.com.
credits a January 2007 job shadow with former WHAS-TV meteorologist Ken
Schulz with sparking his idea to start his own weather Web site.
Schulz told me this is not the prettiest of job fields. You have to
have options one, two and three because there are few TV stations
around the country hiring a meteorologist at a particular time," Hoke
later appeared in
WAVE-TV meteorologist John Belski's
backyard during a forecast following another job shadow of a local
year, Ryan traveled
for free in Tornado Alley as
a volunteer guide and radar operator for Storm Chasing
Adventure Tours (stormchasing.com),
a company that
takes customers on treks in search
of powerful thunderstorms.
he has been
fascinated and even
terrified by storms since age 5, Ryan initially was focused on
a pilot like his father, Ken Hoke, who flies for UPS.
2005, his parents became cooperative weather observers for the National
Weather Service, which installed a weather station on a pole in his
since has had easy
access to localized
temperature, wind, precipitation and other readings from the weather
station that lets him view the conditions anytime. Ken Hoke also made
these readings available on their subdivision's Web site.
said readings from
outside his home often differ from official weather service data
gathered at Louisville International Airport. This is because of the
heat-island effect, which explains why urban areas with lots of
pavement retain more heat than rural ones.
usually 2 to 3
degrees cooler out here than the airport, which can make a big
difference if you're talking about whether it will rain or snow.
Sometimes it's 5 to 10 degrees off what is being recorded at the
airport," he said.
difference, Ryan tries to
include information about suburban weather in his video forecasts. He
said his readings are "closer to what most people in suburban
Louisville" are experiencing.
other pilots, Ken
heavily on accurate, up-to-date weather service data to chart his
course. And he also has looked to the skies since an early age.
been a weather nut
since I was a kid," he said.
he won't take credit
for Ryan's interest in weather.
a total self-starter who dreams up all of this stuff himself. He really
took off after we got the weather station," he said.
plans to attend
Mississippi State University in the fall
to major in broadcast meteorology.
Photographer Arza Barnett