Weather Passions Take Flight at WBAP’s Weather Con

by Mark Zeske

The Frontiers of Flight Museum is usually a place full of dreams and passion for flying. On April 28, the building was packed and the love still strong, but the focus was on weather. The WBAP Weather Con, an annual event at the Love Field location, is a unique meteorological celebration.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” Channel 8 meteorologist Colleen Coyle said. “We get the whole weather team out here from Channel 8. WBAP is awesome in supporting the event as well. We get to see all sides of weather. We have [green screen] over there, our storm chasers, and vehicles.

“We have just about everything to do with weather, and so many kiddos asking about how they can get involved. That is something that just makes my heart happy.”

WFAA-TV Channel 8 set up a station where visitors could act like they were television weathermen, standing in front of the camera while producers flashed different weather backgrounds on the broadcast.

Another popular attraction was a fleet of storm-tracking vehicles and the weather chasers who drive them. Other exhibits featured the American Red Cross, Raven Response rescue dogs, American Radio Relay League, and government meteorologists Bill Bunting and Mark Fox. A Kid Zone featured face painting and paper airplane making.

The line to visit with Coyle was consistently long. She faced three reoccurring questions.

“What is a good school to go to for weather, how long was I in school, and when did I first want to be a weatherman,” Coyle said. “I’ve wanted to be a meteorologist since third grade, so I just tell them to go for it.”

During talk in the museum’s packed auditorium, Channel 8 weatherman’s Pete Delkus warned that April’s low temperatures had kept dangerous storms away, but thunder, lightning and high winds are on the way.

“It is going to heat up in May and give us some rain,” Delkus said.

The Dodds were typical visitors to WBAP Weather Con. From Dallas, Emma is a seventh-grader at St. John’s Episcopal School. Her father, David Dodds, brought her to the event because of her passion for weather.

“She was mortally terrified of storms like tornadoes, but it has morphed into a fascination,” David said of his daughter.

Emma was recently doing a school project on the Great Storm of 1900, a hurricane that hit near Galveston and is considered to be the deadliest natural disaster in United States history with an estimated 8,000 deaths. She found out while doing research that her great-great grandmother was a survivor of the storm.

“I’ve always really liked weather, but my interest is increasing,” Emma said. “We came last year, and I just wanted to come out again and see the green screen, the trucks, and all the cool things they have out here.”

The two had different views on the best part of Weather Con.

“What I enjoyed the most is the storm chasers, listening to their stories and adventures,” David said.

Emma, meanwhile, enjoyed acting like a television meteorologist.

“Definitely the green screen,” she said. “You see people do it all the time on TV, and it’s just so cool. Then you come here you, and you get to do it.”