Charlotte’s weather crush never even wanted to be on TV. Here’s how he became a local heartthrob.

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Photo by Alex Cason

If WCNC Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich had gotten what he originally wanted out of his career, he would not have been in our living rooms every evening or constantly on our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube feeds.

I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist but I never wanted to be on TV because when I grew up, — and this was the case really until the late 90s, early 2000s — most of your TV weather people were not meteorologists,” Panovich said. “They were more like failed news anchors that they said, ‘Go over to the weather office and read the weather.’ They were weather presenters. You just had to be able to read and be a good speaker. Me? I loved the science.”

Panovich got a degree in atmospheric science and always planned to work for the National Weather Service. Six months before college graduation, there was a government hiring freeze. No jobs were available at the Weather Service. A friend talked him into an internship at the CBS station in Columbus, Ohio. And that’s where it all began.

Photo by Alex Cason

Charlotte’s romance with Panovich would begin when he moved here from a sister station in New Orleans during The Ice Storm of 2002, with his first day on air in January 2003. It’s almost like the city was rolling out the red carpet for him.

Since then, his ever-present fixture in our lives has created a romance between the city and her weather hero. He only sleeps a few hours a night so that he can keep us safe. He’s on a first-name basis inside households across the region. His crush factor is discussed in Facebook mom groups. He may be the country’s favorite meteorologist (AMS Meteorologist of the Year for 2018), but he’s Charlotte’s weather boyfriend. Does he even know what a heartthrob he is? And does he love Charlotte as much as Charlotte loves him?

We asked him.

CharlotteFive: Why did you choose Charlotte?
Panovich: Through visiting North Carolina — going to Myrtle Beach as a kid; I went to Asheville for soccer camp when I was in college — I always loved the Charlotte area. When our sister station had a job opening here, I applied immediately. I wanted a four-season climate. The first week I moved here, we had an ice storm in 2002, and I just fell in love. It was the first place that felt like home the second I moved here. I went to Ohio State, so I’m really active in the alumni association. I remember 2003 was we were in the national championship game that January against Miami. I remember looking at the local alumni clubs; I wanted to watch the game with fellow Buckeyes. I find that they’re meeting over at Jock and Jill’s; it’s just around the corner from the station. I go over there and there’s like 800 Buckeyes. I’m still friends with a lot of the people I met at that game watch. That’s when I realized this is where I want to live, this is awesome.

Photo by Alex Cason

CharlotteFive: Who did you meet first, your wife or the weather?
Panovich: The weather definitely came first. The funny thing is, we [my wife and I] met on a blind date. She didn’t know who I was until after we met for the first time. It was the fall of 2003. We met at the old Champs. The date got set up and she didn’t put the name together until we met and she realized ‘Oh, this is the weather guy.’ She didn’t watch me on TV.

[Related: A typical day for meteorologist Brad Panovich, from his home weather office to his constant social media updates.]

CharlotteFive: Do you know you’re a heartthrob?
Panovich: The only reason I know this is because my bosses know this. The reason my bosses know this is because our key demographic for TV is 40-year-old moms with two kids. We have this pseudo person; we call her Jennifer. They tell me, ‘Brad, you’re nailing it in that demographic.’

CharlotteFive: Do you think it’s because of transference? You’re always telling us how to be safe.
Panovich: I think that might be part of it. I take pride in that. Of all the things I do, severe weather is the most important. When there’s bad weather, I do work my butt off. I don’t mind going in because that’s when they count on you. If you’re not there, somebody else will be. Those are the events people remember.

Photo by Alex Cason

CharlotteFive: What’s your favorite season?
Panovich: I love autumn. I just love the mild, sunny days and the cool nights. It reminds me of football; it reminds me of Halloween. My birthday is in autumn. That’s why I like spring here so much; it reminds me of autumn — it’s very similar weather and everything blooms here. Those two seasons are amazing, weather-wise.

CharlotteFive: What’s your favorite season to report on?
Panovich: Winter; I love the snow. I love the challenge of it. I still get as excited as a little kid; that’s the first passion I had was the snowstorm. I still get that giddiness about it.

CharlotteFive: What SPF do you wear?
Panovich: Thirty at least. Now that I have no hair, I have to wear more on my head. When you go bald, you realize how much sunlight your head gets. I’ve become a very big hat person all the time outside.

CharlotteFive: What’s your favorite temperature?
Panovich: Seventy-seven degrees; I like those mid and upper 70s.

CharlotteFive: With a breeze?
Panovich: Yeah, and no humidity.

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