Museum program features KWWL Meterologist Kyle Kiel

As a third grader, experiencing a tornado warning while at school had a profound effect on KWWL Meteorologist Kyle Kiel. Though the event did no physical damage to the school building where he and his fellow classmates were kept after school in designated shelter areas until the threat passed, there was a time afterward where he viewed any dark cloud with a bit of suspicion and trepidation. Inspired by a local television weatherman’s presentation at school, Kiel soon turned his fear of powerful storms into a passion for the weather and, ultimately, a successful career on television.

On July 11, it was a full house at the La Porte City FFA Historical & Ag Museum, where dozens of visitors attended a special program presented by the Quad Cities native and self-described “weather geek,” who shared insights about the summer severe weather season and his work at KWWL.

Kiel is one of five meteorologists employed by the station, a real benefit during times of severe weather when all hands on deck are needed to keep viewers informed of the latest weather developments. During his presentation, he shared a number of tips to help people stay safe during thunderstorms and tornadoes, as well as some other lesser known facts about severe weather.
Using a slide show of images, he also provided a behind-the-scenes look at some of the equipment and technology he uses to develop and present weather forecasts for KWWL viewers. One popular stop during tours of the studio is the large green screen meteorologists stand in front of during their presentation of the weather. Chroma key technology allows computers to insert whatever images the station wants to broadcast, from photos to weather graphics, into the green portion of the screen. What looks like a very polished and professional image to viewers has a very different appearance in studio for those delivering the weather forecast. Using a monitor positioned off-screen that displays the computer-inserted images viewers see, Kiel explained it takes a bit of practice to make pointing to the correct portions of the green screen appear as though he’s pointing to the actual images viewers can see (but he cannot). Use of the green screen, however, comes with a significant side effect- anything green on camera is rendered invisible to the television viewer. During a weather broadcast on St. Patrick’s Day, Kiel, holding up a green shirt as a prop, demonstrated the effect for viewers.

Following his informative presentation, Kiel responded to a number of questions posed by the audience. When asked what he liked most about his job, he noted that meteorologists have an opportunity to help save lives, and that ability is ultimately the most rewarding part of his work. Though he understands why some viewers get upset when their programs are interrupted for weather-related announcements and coverage, keeping people safe is a responsibility he takes very seriously.

For additional information about KWWL, logon to kwwl.com. Follow Kyle Kiel on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KyleKielWX/ and on Twitter @KyleKielWX

Words of weather wisdom from Meteorologist Kyle Kiel…

On Severe Weather…

  • There have been eight deaths attributed to lighting strikes in 2018.
  • Thunder occurs when rapidly heated air by lighting creates a shock wave.
  • “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Lightning can strike up to 10 miles away from a thunderstorm.
  • The temperature of lightning measures some 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Large hail is more likely to occur in May and June than July and August, when temperatures in the atmosphere are cooler.
  • In situations of severe weather, highway overpasses are not a safe location for shelter. Because they act like a funnel, wind speeds can increase dramatically in those locations, making a storm even more powerful in these localized areas.
  • The safest location during a tornado is the lowest level of your home and/or in a room surrounded by interior walls. When a tornado threatens, stay away from windows and use something to protect your head from flying debris.
  • Outside during a tornado with no shelter in sight? Do not seek shelter in your car or try to outrun it with your vehicle. It is usually better to lay in a ditch and protect your head.

On KWWL and weather forecasting:

  • Local weather forecasts at KWWL are prepared locally by each of the station’s five meteorologists on duty. They are not taken from national sources like the Weather Channel.
  • Conversely, weather watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service, not local television or radio stations.
  • Recent Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee Ron Steele is “the most level-headed person I’ve ever met in TV.”
  • Depending on the time of day, as many as 100,000 people could be watching a KWWL news broadcast.
  • The “WWL” in “KWWL” is believed to stand for “Welcome Waterloo.” The “K” in the station’s call letters is dictated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).