5 things to know about Ryan Hanrahan, NBC CT meteorologist

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Hanrahan followed the storm from his West Hartford studio, unsure when the biggest storm surge would hit.

“Sandy was probably one of the scariest storms I’ve ever covered,” he said.

As chief meteorologist, the Connecticut native continues to be a trusted source of information on Connecticut’s worst natural disasters, appearing weekdays during the 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and updating residents in his new blog, Ryan’s Radar.

A few weeks ago, he helped compile a 30-minute Hurricane Sandy special to mark its 10th anniversary and explain lessons learned from the storm, which was not a hurricane when it hit Connecticut. .

Hanrahan’s weather reports earned him a New England Emmy Award and the opportunity to cover two Super Bowl games.

“It’s just exciting to go to work every day and be able to predict the weather,” he said. “I still laugh a little that someone is paying me to do a weather forecast and talk about it on TV.”

Looking back on his career, Hanrahan has been impressed with the improvement in weather forecasting, especially that it’s more accurate and he can predict storms further in advance. However, communicating uncertainty to the public when they don’t have all the answers remains a challenge.

“It makes the job interesting. But we know our viewers demand a lot of precision and a lot of warning in advance. And we really try to give them that,” he said.

Here are five things to know about NBC CT’s chief meteorologist:

1. Her interest in the weather dates back to her early childhood.

Ever since he was a child, Hanrahan has found the weather fascinating. Like “a child before Christmas”, he struggles to sleep the night before a blizzard due to excitement, he said.

“I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t want to be a meteorologist,” he said.

During his summer vacation on Cape Cod in 1989, when he was 5, he remembers watching scenes from the 1989 Hamden tornado on the news and feeling upset that he wasn’t home when the storm happened.

After graduating from Guilford High School, he studied meteorology at Pennsylvania State University and atmospheric science at the State University of New York at Albany. Before joining NBC Connecticut, he interned at the television station during summers while in college.

“It’s very cool to be able to make a living off of something that’s your hobby and something that you really love,” he said.

2. He flew into the eye of Hurricane Florence…and nearly slept through it

In 2018, Hanrahan took a C-130 plane with the crew of the TV show “Hurricane Hunters” to check out the Category 1 hurricane. would have missed if a member of the crew hadn’t woken him from a deep sleep.

“He’s like, ‘Hey, we’re going in the eye, I know a meteorologist wants to see this,'” he said. “I can sleep just about anything.”

Hanrahan has also chased tornadoes for his job, including the 2011 tornado that swept through Springfield, Mass.

“I arrived shortly after the tornado. And just seeing the destruction first hand kind of took my breath away. It was really, really hard to watch. Just to see how powerful the storm was,” he said.

3. He is an active member of the community

Hanrahan has been involved with Special Olympics for more than a decade, organizing the opening ceremonies for the Summer Games. For two years, he bowled on a unified bowling team with West Hartford and competed in the Special Olympics Holiday Classic.

“Being able to compete alongside the athletes was really rewarding.”

Besides the Special Olympics, he visits schools to talk about the science behind weather and what being a meteorologist entails.

“I think it’s important for people, especially children, to know that there’s a lot to do besides looking at your phone and seeing what the weather will be like tomorrow,” he said. “For me, it’s really important to get it out to schools, to talk about what we’re doing and why it’s important.”

4. He had a furry best friend named Doppler.

When you browse Hanrahan’s social media accounts, the number of photos of her golden retriever, Doppler, is obvious. Unfortunately, Doppler passed away in the spring, but he is ready to have another dog in the future.

Hanrahan said he was blown away by the number of viewers who wrote thoughtful and encouraging comments following Doppler’s passing. He read each comment multiple times, he said.

“People have written the nicest, kindest things,” he said. “We hear about a lot of acrimony on social media and how it can be a tough place, and it certainly is. But the people are also really nice and really caring,” he said.

5. He uses his platform to educate people about climate change

A decade ago, when NBC CT began ramping up its climate reporting, Hanrahan said the station received negative feedback and skepticism. Now viewers are asking for more, and students often ask Hanrahan about the phenomenon.

Hanrahan said NBC Universal has increased the time and resources for more on-the-ground reporting and longer stories about the impacts of climate change in the region. In addition to predicting temporary weather events, it also communicates the long-term effects of climate change on Connecticut.

The state’s average summer and fall temperatures have increased and winter storms have become more extreme. Weather conditions such as drought and rain also extended, he said.

“It seems that the extremes are a little more numerous than before. And so, we’re just trying to figure out what that means for the future,” he said.

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