Meet your IPC

Brian Neudorff, Chief Meteorologist at KMVT

Interviewed by Rhonda Prast

Brian Neudorff has been the Chief Meteorologist at KMVT, a CBS affiliate in Twin Falls, since 2011. He joined the Idaho Press Club board in 2018. He graduated from Purdue University with a Meteorology degree and his first TV job was in Bismarck, North Dakota, at KFYR-TV in 2001. 
What started your interest in meteorology?
 I’ve always loved weather and the earth sciences – from geology to astronomy and meteorology. For many of my weather colleagues, they will point to a particular weather event. I don’t really have that story, but I’ve just always been fascinated. Growing up in the Midwest, you get snowy winters and you get the severe violent thunderstorms. I remember following severe weather events in Indiana on TV.
How are new technology and popular weather apps changing your job? Is there a ‘trust factor getting information from you?
Weather apps are definitely a competitor and we update a weather app like many TV stations. Apps and the availability of weather info have changed our job to be more interactive through social media. You can’t just tell people numbers, they can get that on an app or online. You need to convey the way weather is going to impact them and their lives. You have to be available and I strive to be a trusted, go-to source for our market and viewers.
As for trust – I still think people like a human element with weather. People will show me their apps and ask, “Is this correct?” They aren’t just taking the forecast at face value, they want some interpretation. Biggest thing is I show my personality, show I am real and allow people to know I am relatable. I also admit when we get a forecast wrong and explain why we might have gotten a forecast wrong. Truthfully, we don’t get it wrong all that often and that also breeds more and more trust.
 You’ve lived in some states with extreme weather (snow) – Rochester and Bismarck.  What was that like?

As I mentioned, I am from Indiana so severe storms are very common in the summer. My first job took me to North Dakota. I never got a TRUE North Dakota winter, but I experienced harsh temperatures. Many think of the Dakotas as a very cold place. That is true in the winter, but the state can also be very humid and very hot in the summer. I experienced a 114-degree day in North Dakota. As for lake effect snow across Erie and Rochester, that was fun. It was also exciting to frequently experience thunder snow. That’s basically a thunderstorm with snow, not rain. It was a big challenge to forecast because many times it would be very localized. It helped me to forecast mountain weather that we get in Idaho. Lake effect is very dependent on elevation changes and so is weather here with all our mountains. 
What do you foresee with the impact of climate change on the Northwest region? The next 10 years?
This is a hard one for me as there are differences between the study of climate and the study of weather. As for the next 10 years, the main worries will remain from drought to wildfire seasons.  We may not see drastic changes. I’ve been in Idaho almost eight years and in that time, I’ve experienced drought and then “The Winter” of 2016-2017 that brought all the snow. Even the winter of 2018-19 is turning the tables after what looked like a non-winter. Thanks to El Nino, we got a wet and snowy February that is great for the snowpack. 
Talk about your NASCAR Weatherman designation. How did that start? Is that an official position?

First, it is an unofficial title. For those who don’t know me beyond my weather duties at KMVT, I’ve been doing NASCAR weather forecasts on Twitter since 2008, mostly as @NASCAR_WXMAN. What started as a NASCAR fan that was a meteorologist grew over 11 seasons to more than 38,000 followers.  It’s mostly fans, but I have NASCAR media, NASCAR officials, teams and drivers following me.
What tips do you have for students who are interested in weather and climate reporting?
To the student who wants to report on weather and climate, always check with a meteorologist. I see many stories where an expert was not consulted. One example that comes to mind was a national story about severe weather.  The headline was: “Came without warning.” But the severe weather outbreak had been forecasted well in advance.
For meteorologists starting out: embrace reporting, it will help you get better with your on-air presentation and it also gets you out into the community. 
You’ve lived in quite a few places – what makes Southern Idaho more special for you and your family?

It’s the longest place we’ve ever lived. There is very much a Midwest vibe in Twin Falls. The community and the people are wonderful. While I still don’t like that you have to drive a long time to get to Boise or Salt Lake City, there are things to do that aren’t too far. But we’ve managed to buy a house, allowing for a stable environment for our sons and my wife was able to start her career as a teacher. 

Besides playing trumpet, what else do you do for fun?
I like to spend time with my family. Most importantly, I have a vast LEGO Collection. We also like to visit Boise and see all that there is to do. One thing people may be surprised to learn, I like video games but I also play Pokémon Go with my family.
 Favorite restaurant in the Magic Valley?

Norm’s Cafe – There is a “Weatherman’s Omelet” and yes it is named after me.