New Jersey native Dylan Dreyer, 34, has been the weather anchor of NBC News’ Weekend Today since 2012 and serves as a midweek weather correspondent for Today and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. For nearly six years, Dreyer worked at Boston’s WHDH-TV (Channel 7) as the weekday morning meteorologist. In 2008, she was named Boston’s Best Meteorologist by The Improper Bostonian. She previously worked in Providence, Rhode Island, and Erie, Pennsylvania. She graduated cum laude from Rutgers University and is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval. She lives in New York with her husband.
Have you ever been caught in the rain without an umbrella? Very often. Particularly now that I work on national news and I focus on the big weather stories, I’ll walk outside and say, “Oh, look! It’s going to rain today!” My husband’s always like “Thanks for the heads up.”
Is there a place in the world that you want to visit just because of its weather patterns? There’s a place in Venezuela that I’d love to go, where there’s lightning like 330 days a year. I’d love to see that. That would be fascinating.
Most boring place to predict the weather? I’d say San Diego. It’s just 70 and sunny every single day, with really nothing that interesting happening.
Biggest mistake you ever made in a forecast? I don’t make mistakes often. Just kidding. Snowstorms just burn you so badly, because everybody’s listening to your forecast. I remember one time, about six years ago, we weren’t forecasting a lot of snow, and Cape Cod just got slammed with a foot and a half, out of nowhere. Nobody is happy when that happens.
Are you ever like “I nailed that one right on the head!” Again, back when I was in Boston, I got to the point where I knew the microclimate so well, I’d be like “The clouds will arrive at 2 o’clock. The rain’s going to start at 2:30. Then it’s going to change over to snow at 3:45…” I’d kinda pat myself on the back on the occasions when that happened.
Biggest on-air gaffe? That happened in Rhode Island. It was daylight saving time. I was on-air, and I said, “Don’t forget to turn your clocks back,” except that I left the “l” out of “clock.” As immature as can be, I burst out laughing so hard. I didn’t even pull it together. I just said, “I need to stop talking right now,” and we went to a commercial.
Favorite season? Definitely summer. I like it hot and humid with massive thunderstorms. That’s what I prefer for my life. But when I’m working, hurricanes and snowstorms are the most fun. They’re so interesting.
Worst encounter with a disgruntled viewer? It’s not really in person; it’s all Twitter now. I haven’t had a one-on-one encounter, but Twitter opens up this whole world of opportunity for people to attack you. I’ve gotten an awful lot of complaints that a bachelor party was ruined because they couldn’t go golfing. I take it all so personally, too.
Worst experience with a green screen? It was also in Boston. At WHDH, they had this set-up that made it look like you were standing on top of the number seven. I was goofing around, acting like I was surfing on it. And then I looked over, and Mayor Menino was getting a tour of the station. It was embarrassing.
A historic weather event you wish you’d seen? Al Roker just did a book, The Storm of the Century, on a hurricane at the turn of the century, 1899/1900, that wiped out Galveston, Texas. It would be interesting to go back in time with the knowledge we have now. I can’t even imagine what they dealt with. It took days to communicate information. I’d love to take the technology and knowledge we have now and just impress everyone by saving the day.
Favorite weather-related song? I’m going to go with Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night.”
Technological breakthrough that most helps with predicting weather? The more and better computer models that exist. They get more and more accurate. If you go back 50 years ago, a one-day forecast was great. Forty years ago, a two-day forecast was great. We’re at the point right now that two and a half to three days out, we can make a really accurate forecast. The scientific calculations are really amazing.
I am obsessed with The Price Is Right, and your grandmother was a record-setting winner on that show. Do you still have any prizes? I do! I love that show. I have a couple of fur coats that I can’t wear, because I’m allergic. My brother has some of the furniture. She won a house in Florida, but we sold that. But I have a couple of ball gowns that she won, and I actually fit in those.
What other planet would you like to predict the weather for? I’d like to know what’s going on with the hurricane on Jupiter. That hurricane’s been just swirling and spinning and just sitting there for millions of years. It would be so fascinating to figure out what the heck is going on with that, but it would also be easy to forecast, because it just hasn’t changed.
Ever see old footage of yourself and say, “What was I thinking with that outfit?” With the outfit, with the hair, with everything. My first job in TV, I had such a Jersey accent. My voice was so high, and I said “like” all the time. And at WHDH, for some reason, they made me shop at a store called Caché. I don’t know why. I’m not built for their clothes. They’re very kind of Miami, and I would wear the tightest clothes. There were blouses with pearls sewn onto the wrists and fur on the collar. It looked so awful on me. Finally I was able to convince them that Banana Republic might be a better fit, but there was actually a website called fugtv.com dedicated to how awful my outfits were.
Scariest weather phenomenon? The scariest to cover? There were two, and they were very different. The first was a Category 3 hurricane in Bermuda. It was my first major hurricane. The wind was so crazy that the curtains in the room were shaking because the windows were bowing. I ended up staying on the bathroom floor, and the door was shut and rattling. I stayed awake all night. The crew I had was from Florida, and afterward, they were like “That’s just what you do. You sleep in the bathtub.” The other happens a lot in the winter: I end up driving through lake-effect snow. It comes down so hard and so fast, you can’t see a thing. Lights only make it worse, and the trucks come screaming up behind you. It’s kind of terrifying.
Rarest weather phenomenon? Well, we were in Las Vegas over the summer, and they got hit with this crazy downpour, and there’s no drainage there. So the parking lots and hotels were just filling up with water, because it had nowhere to go. So I guess the rare things are any normal event that happens in a strange location.
Ooh, I have a whole list of favorites. I could nerd out on my computer for you. My favorite radar website is weathertap.com. Then there are the computer modeling websites. I’m just a big fan of the National Weather Service. The local weather offices are great, and I love reading the discussions. The meteorologists are local, on the ground, and they know the area.
We’re fairly accurate. The more specific you get, the more trouble you get into, and I’m doing more macro, national-level stuff. But if you say, “It’s going to be 70 and sunny,” in a specific place, and a batch of clouds come in and it’s only 68, that’s totally different. In general, we don’t get enough credit for being right, because everybody focuses on the mistakes. I’d say we’re right more often than wrong, but I’m sure a lot of people would disagree. [Laughs.]
Any weather-related myth you want to debunk? Well, the one that really bugs me is the expression “heat lightning.” It’s not a real thing. All it is is a thunderstorm very far away. You can see the lightning, but you’re too far away to hear the thunder.
How much does weather effect people’s moods? A lot. It effects what I eat. It’s the difference between a glass of red wine or white wine or beer. A storm can make people feel romantic.
How extensive is your collection of foul-weather gear? Oh, man. My husband is so mad at me about our coat closet at home. There is no room for any of his stuff. It’s a rainbow of coats. They’re big puffy, fur-collared coats. Whenever I travel for storms, I have two pairs of everything. Two ski pants, under layers, and I bring three jackets. One I wear on the plane and two I push down into my suitcase. And I pride myself on the fact that I never check a bag. Somehow, I can pack for a week with all my winter gear and still not check a bag.
So is this winter going to be as bad as last year? Well, I think that there is no way it can be as bad. That being said, I do think it’s going to be a tough one. Average snowfall for Boston is, I think, around 45 inches. All it takes is a couple of big storms and you’re above that. So I think it’ll be above normal, but I don’t think you’ll reach 110 inches. It would be insane if you guys got that much snow.