Helena’s own weather man is Renaissance man

Published 3:28 pm Monday, June 28, 2010

Helena claims Vermont-born Brian Peters as one of its own, now that the gad-about meteorologist and wife, Jane, have spent the last 21 years in the Birmingham area.

Peters, who came into the meteorology field “back when television had weather girls and weather clowns,” was something of a groundbreaker in the industry as the first degreed meteorologist to graduate from Florida State University.

“My mother says she should have recognized my inclination to be fascinated by the weather when, as early as the age of 4, she would find me propped up on the back of our sofa watching storms out the window,” he said.

Peters has worked in Ft. Worth, Memphis and Atlanta. After obtaining his master’s degree in public administration, a cross-discipline suggested by his former boss, Jack Ross, he became warning coordinator meteorologist in Birmingham from 1989-2003.

He announced his planned retirement in 2003.

In 2004, he was memorably a part of a Hurricane Hunter team that flew from Gulf Shores during Hurricane Ivan.

“It’s an experience to be flying at 10,000 feet in wind 176 mph with gusts up to 216 mph. When we made that measurement, we knew we were in a Category 5 storm,” he said.

He continued part time, 2004-2009, at ABC 33/40, which was a sponsor of the Buck Creek Festival. This association took him forward to his permanent role as emcee for the festival and last year, he inherited the emcee role at Helena’s Christmas Parade.

He and Jane met when both were members of Up With the People, from the Bradenton and Ft. Myers, Fla., areas respectively, at a joint concert.

“I was the emcee,” he said. “I just moved my lips when everyone else sang. Jane was the singer.”

They continued a courtship by mail when he cleverly asked her to keep in touch and send him the clippings from the event.

This year, Peters spends his time enjoying a mix of work and volunteer opportunities. He works part time at the Apple store at The Summit, where he appreciates their very customer-oriented approach and the opportunity to work with and assist folks from a wide range of ages.

He and Jane attend Helena United Methodist Church, where he also takes care of their computer systems and issues.

He and partner Tim Coleman own a consulting service that presents weather expert testimony for court cases. Peters is also founder and CEO for the non-profit Alabama SKYWARN Foundation Inc., which provides information to local schools during Severe Weather Week in February.