James Spann holds book signing at Leader’s Corner

Published 4:33 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Local residents and visitors to Columbiana Main Street welcomed meteorologist James Spann as he held a book signing event at Leader’s Corner Coffee & Tea on Saturday, Aug. 26.

Spann arrived early for the event, which was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., and chatted with other early risers before meeting with and signing books for fans that came to see him. He remained their greeting the continuous crowd until just after noon.

Although the crowd never grew too large to handle, the event saw a strong continuous flow of visitors and brought foot traffic not only to Leader’s Corner, but the surrounding businesses as well.

“It was super exciting, we were thrilled just that he would think to reach out to us,” said Tiffany Patrick, owner of Leader’s Corner. “It was really, really cool. It was a fantastic day for us and I got to touch base with some of the other people here on main street. It definitely was a great day for them as well, just (with) foot traffic going through their businesses and all of that kind of stuff. It was a lot of fun to see all of us being able to pull together as a team just to welcome him and all of the extra people that it brought to town.”

Spann was primarily signing his two previously released books, “Weathering Life”, which is his personal autobiography published in 2019 that tells his life story and career as a meteorologist, and 2021’s “All You Can Do Is Pray.” This second book chronicles Spann’s, and others’, actions during the devastating tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011. The book seeks to explain the events and weather of that day, and also remembers those that lost their lives during the severe weather event.

“I’m still not entirely sure that I’ve processed that day,” Spann said. “What I come back to the most, are these names here.”

Despite the heavy subject matter of his latest book, the atmosphere of the event was jovial and saw each and every visitor get the opportunity to speak with Spann and have their pictures taken. A true member of the community, Spann displayed time and time again an ability to find often direct connections with those that came to see him.

While not the author, Spann also signed copies of the two other books he has helped to publish, his wife and son’s book “Benny and Chipper Prepared… Not Scared” and “Sumbunny” which is a collaboration between his son and Dr. Bill Naugher.

Shirts and hats, featuring slogans such as “Respect the polygon” and “The jacket is off, time to hunker down” were also sold alongside copies of the books and were a hit with his fans in line.

Since 2011, Spann has held the most followers on X (formerly Twitter) and the most fans on Facebook of any local television meteorologist.

Spann, who has a career in television weather that spans just short of 45 years, has served as the chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40 for the past 25 years, and can be seen at 4, 5, 6, and 10 p.m. every weeknight.