Steve Pool's Forecast: Nothing But Blue Skies

"People only hear what they want to hear. 'It's gonna snow?!'"

By Allison Williams February 25, 2020 Published in the March 2020 issue of Seattle Met

Retired KOMO meteorologist Steve Pool on the roof of the Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

Image: Brandon Hill

In the early 1970s, a teenaged Steve Pool came home from his SeaTac high school, debate trophy in hand. He earned it, he announced, “for talking!” His army vet father’s response: “Well, you should talk some more.” That he did. For 43 years at KOMO News, most as chief weather anchor, Pool turned his verbal agility to distilling the day’s meteorological report into affable chat about Seattle’s rain, sun, and, ever so rarely, snow. University of Washington climate guru Cliff Mass trained him personally; Pool returned the favor by launching a UW intern program for weather broadcasting. Pool’s Seattle icon status was so secure that when the father of two announced his prostate cancer diagnosis in 2018, the swell of support from viewers overwhelmed even him. Though treatment earned him a clean bill of health, the daily broadcast grind inspired Pool’s decision to retire last December. Fortunately, he’s never stopped talking to us. –AW 

Some people go, there’s too many murders on TV. Gloom and doom. But with weather, it isn’t like that.

I didn’t use scripts. I can hold that stuff in my brain. I thought it was a better way—to actually focus on the audience. It’s like just talking to your friends.

There are times when you might have a bad day in delivery. Just stumble over a couple of words or something. That’s the way people are. That’s human.

Cliff Mass was rather skeptical because I hadn’t come from the science side. He sat me down and says, “Okay. This is a cloud.”

The biggest challenge [in Seattle] is variability. In about 200 miles, you have an ocean, an estuary, two mountain ranges, all reacting to the airflow. It’s not like Kansas.

You can have a convergence zone that kicks out snow in Everett and just Everett. And everybody else gets nothing.

People only hear what they want to hear. “It’s gonna snow?!” The kids are jumping up and down, “No school! No school!” Yeah, well...only in Everett.

One time I was driving up I-5 and this guy in a pickup truck pulled up parallel. He rolls down his window and starts yelling, “You were wrong!!”

There was a time when we were kind of the dream team. Dan Lewis, Eric Johnson, Kathi Goertzen, and me. We were such great friends.

When Kathi died, that was really hard on us. We had this rivalry every year, because she was a Cougar. One time I secretly brought in the Husky band behind the set. She’s getting ready to read the news and they’re literally walking by with trombones and stuff.

It’s been a great ride. I probably would have kept going, except when I got prostate cancer—all of that stuff changes you. You start to think about that nothing is forever.

For about the first six months [after diagnosis] I had a pity party. I would deal by watching Law and Order. I would get up in the morning and, “Chung chung!”

Then I started thinking, Hey, this is not it, dude. This will kill you too.

With global warming, there’s no question at all. I get kind of irritated when it becomes politicized, [when people say] it’s a liberal conspiracy or something like that.

I say, dude, think of it differently. If you keep pooping in your house, you can’t eat there. Don’t you think it’s a good idea to try and keep it as clean as you can?

We’re on the same little blue ball here, let’s work together. That’s my take.

I’m in a different space now and honestly, I couldn’t be more healthy. There’s no more pressure. But I do have 300 episodes of Law and Order to get through.


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