George Waldenberger, WFTV.com

George Waldenberger

From winter storms to Winter Park, I grew up in Wisconsin but recently moved to Orlando for the wonderful winter weather!

Don’t get me wrong, I love all exciting weather. I forecasted thunderstorms, snowstorms, ice storms and heat waves in the Central Plains for seven years.

From Sioux City, Iowa; Tulsa & Kansas City, these gigs in tornado alley will serve as good experience tracking the many Florida thunderstorms.

But I didn’t start out as a meteorologist, I started as a farmer. I grew up on a family dairy farm. My 10 brothers and sisters and I milked cows all winter long, even as temperatures dropped below zero and snowstorms dropped multiple feet of snow.

My first job out of college was not in meteorology, either. It was engineering. Geotechnical engineering. I worked at a firm that designed foundations for New York City skyscrapers.

One project sent me trekking deep below the streets of Manhattan to monitor the construction vibrations on the Subway tracks. Another had me approving pits for the construction of the foundation for a 44-story building.

It was a fascinating job, but somewhere in my second year, I received an offer to attend UCLA’s grad school. This is where I entered the weather workforce.

It was the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department at UCLA. I worked as a graduate student researcher studying two major storms: Hurricane Andrew and the 1993 Storm of the Century. My job was to manipulate the computer models to see how likely it was to make these storms even stronger, all while earning my Master’s Degree.

And the icing on the cake? My UCLA diploma has the signature of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Since I’m new to the area, I’ll be familiarizing myself with central Florida. I’ll be out and about visiting many of the local communities, so if you see me in your neighborhood, give me a friendly “hello”.

And yes, growing up in Wisconsin, I do love snow…but I may love “no snow” even more!

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