Derek Sibley

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I have always had a significant passion for meteorology since I was a child.  Growing up in south Florida, I experienced lots of meteorological phenomena, including sea breeze thunderstorm activity, squall lines associated with cold fronts, tropical storms, and hurricanes. 

It was not until 2004 that I began to take an interest into tropical systems.  During the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, four hurricanes struck the Florida peninsula, while two of them, Frances and Jeanne, made landfall about 3 weeks apart from one another an hour and a half north from my childhood home in Hollywood, Florida. 

Though the impacts to the south of those storms were minimal, it started a new experience of weather for me that I never experienced before. 

Little did I know the following year would change how I look at these monstrous storms forever.  In 2005, like millions of others living in the hurricane zone along the coast, I experienced an even more catastrophic and deadlier season than the previous one. 

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a season that no one will ever forget, as it spawned a record breaker 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, and 7 major hurricanes, and at the time was the costliest Atlantic hurricane season on record.  Out of those 7 major hurricanes, I experienced 3 of them, including Dennis, Katrina, and Wilma, all when I was just 11 years old. 

I experienced Dennis over water on a cruise ship in July with waves as high as 20-30ft while winds gusting to hurricane force, Katrina I experienced in August in south Florida in it’s first landfall as a category 1, and finally, hurricane Wilma in October also in south Florida.  I would say Wilma was the one that did it in for me and significantly raised my interest in tropical meteorology.  Ever since that storm, tropical meteorology has become my favorite branch in the field.

From there, my heart and soul were set and committed to making a career out of meteorology.  I began to network with other people interested in the same subject when I was in high school. 

I reached out to storm chasers who’s videos I saw on YouTube of tornadoes and hurricanes.  Ironically, some of those storm chasers were in the south Florida area and relatively close by.  I made great friends with these people who I still keep in touch with today. 

I expanded further by volunteering at hurricane conferences hosted by the state of Florida.  Later I found myself volunteering at the Miami National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center.  In 2013, I left south Florida to attend college at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.  I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in meteorology with a minor in mathematics in May of 2018. 

Now I’m the morning meteorologist for KMID ABC Big 2 News and KPEJ Fox 24 News in Odessa, Texas, not only am I giving the weather forecast every morning, but I’m also providing lifesaving information of severe weather including tornadoes when the threat exists. 

Aside from my awesome job, I have several hobbies including storm chasing, swimming, movies, and i’m a huge Miami Dolphins fan.

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