When residents catch wind of an emerging hurricane or tropical storm off the coast, they log onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see what their favorite meteorologists have to say about the risks to the region.
Hurricane Dorian has proved no different as meteorologists from every station have been providing followers with charts, graphs and satellite imagery of the massive storm’s approach.
Here are the meteorologists with the largest social media followings when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
1. Nick Kosir
Followers: 10,500 Twitter, 239,598 Facebook & 934,000 Instagram
Kosir has the potential to follow in the footsteps of weathermen like David Letterman and Pat Sajak by breaking through the green screen and into pop culture. He’s already become a viral sensation on YouTube and Instagram for his rapping forecasts, dancing and Cam Newton photo re-enactments. Kosir, who joined WJZY in 2014, has parlayed his Internet fame into an appearance to prop up a Lil Nas X performance on the MTV Video Music Awards. Will it continue to snowball?
2. Brad Panovich
Followers: 81,900 Twitter, 185,653 Facebook & 32,400 Instagram
Panovich has that ability to simultaneously convince followers to take an emerging storm seriously, but not to the point where they’re clearing out the bread aisles in a panic. WCNC’s chief meteorologist seemingly works around the clock during hurricane threats, posting informative forecasts on storm impacts on Facebook.
Charlotte Magazine noticed, pegging him one of 2018 Charlotteans of the Year. Klobomedia ranked Panovich third among the 100 best meteorologists on social media in 2016, citing his use of science and the frequency of his tweets.
3. Eric Thomas
Followers: 9,574 Twitter & 27,311 Facebook
Thomas celebrated his 30th anniversary with WBTV last year, but his social media updates come fast like lightning strikes. The station’s chief meteorologist blends science with passion, as he admitted during a live broadcast of the solar eclipse in 2017 that he was having trouble containing his composure and later fought back tears. “This is crazy,” Thomas said with the enthusiasm of a professional wrestling commentator. “This is absolutely crazy!”
4. John Ahrens
Followers: 5,480 Twitter, 17,788 Facebook & 2,497 Instagram
Ahrens, who has been with WSOC, since 2006, is the meteorologist you’d most likely want to have a beer with. His Facebook posts go beyond weather maps and forecasts, though he posts plenty of those. He went to the aftermath of one storm a few weeks ago and asked followers to help families in north Charlotte who lost their homes by bringing them groceries or school supplies. He also posts photos of himself out in the community.
5. Al Conklin
Followers: 8,919 Twitter & 11,822 Facebook
Conklin has been on the WBTV airwaves since 1993. What sets him apart from other public figures on Facebook and Twitter is that he takes the time to reply to comments on his posts. And if he doesn’t reply, there’s a good chance he’ll react to it in the form of a thumbs up. The veteran weatherman understands that social media was designed to be a conversation.
6. Leigh Brock
Followers: 3,726 Twitter, 13,894 Facebook & 1,172 Instagram
If you’re a fan of WBTV, which has been celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, then you appreciate Brock. She posts a lot of behind-the-scenes photos of her coworkers on Facebook, making her page a more personable experience for fans. Her Twitter feed carries more of the maps you’d expect from meteorologists. On TV, her duties on weekend newscasts involve testing products with anchor Kristi O’Connor.
7. Steve Udelson
Followers: 6,162 Twitter, 7,221 Facebook & 731 Instagram
Udelson serves as the chief meteorologist for WSOC’s Severe Weather Center. He’s been in that role since 1997. He took some time off this year to undergo a double hip replacement surgery. His 15th annual Steve’s Coats for Kids campaign generated 25,753 donations this year. He also encouraged viewers to donate to the 9 School Tools campaign.
8. Iisha Scott
Followers: 3,454 Twitter, 6,261 Facebook & 4,212 Instagram
Scott has quickly built a solid social media following despite being in the Charlotte market for just one year and working weekend evening shifts. She’s worked in Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia, as well as Wilmington. This summer, she’s been tracking storms on Facebook and Twitter. She posts photos of her experiences in Charlotte and abroad on Instagram.
9. Larry Sprinkle
Followers: 3,667 Twitter & 7,118 Facebook
If there was a hall of fame for Charlotte meteorologists, Sprinkle would most likely be a first-ballot inductee. He’s worked with WCNC-TV since 1985. His IMDB page has 11 credits, including roles in “King Kong Lives” and “Firestarter.” Speaking of horror, he has provided must-see television during Halloween newscasts.
10. Nicole Madden
Followers: 2,242 Twitter, 6,614 Facebook & 1,294 Instagram
Madden works as the meteorologist for WCCB’s “News Rising,” a fun, relaxed morning show where the laughter is legit. She recently celebrated her two-year anniversary with the station. She previously worked in news stations in Louisiana.