Magnificently coiffed, sleeves rolled to indicate that he means business and also that his arms are pretty tanned, Pete Delkus is the only name in America when it comes to weather. Towering at 7 feet, 5 inches, he stands before that vast green screen night after night to deliver North Texas from catastrophe. A veritable meteorological Ozymandias, Delkus does not have to tend toward benevolence. He does it to save us from ourselves.
Once a near-major league pitcher, Delkus traded in fastballs for hailstones the size of a grapefruit in some areas. A whirling dervish of weathery wonder, Delkus, the chief meteorologist for DFW’s ABC affiliate WFAA, met for an interview in his corner office at the Victory Park studio. In a rare interview from his stately, solid-gold desk, Delkus has broken his silence while indulging his biggest fan. There is no tomorrow, there is only the hope of Pete’s generosity.
When did you know that you had weather powers?
I knew that I had weather powers when I started closing schools a handful of years ago because of the snow and the ice.
Have you ever faked a storm just for fun?
You know, I haven't faked one just for fun, but I've certainly faked one to keep people away from the car wash.
What is it like to be inside an actual tornado?
I think there are some environmental things with my hair and the product I use. It's probably best for the environment that I just try to avoid being in tornadoes at all costs.
Can you talk about your hair products?
I'd rather not.
Is the Doppler thing real, or is it fake — like the moon landing?
Where did you come up with this?
Don’t worry about it.
Well, I guess the best answer to that is: Do you think the earth is round or flat?
That's true. So how does that affect the weather?
Well, that's exactly right. Anyone who thinks it's not flat is Hitler.
Has Dale ever insisted that he do the weather, and then he got it wrong, and you just had to stand there and watch?
Who's this Dale guy you're talking about?
Do you have a new suit made every night?
Not every night, but I try to keep it on a weekly basis.
Who makes them?
I have people who do that.
How many times have you seen Twister?
You know, the problem with seeing Twister more than once is, it's a documentary. It gives me nightmares, so I've only seen it the one time.
What would you say is a better weather movie: Twister or Rain Man?
Oh, Rain Man. Yeah, there's no question.
Rain Man or Jurassic Park?
Well, Jurassic Park, just from the documentary standpoint.
Weather really started all the problems in that movie.
Oh, there's no question it did.
I'm glad you ...
So, Jurassic Park. To me, that's the pinnacle of weather movies.
Yes. I agree with that. OK. What is your favorite cloud?
Is that made up?
No, a mammatus is a cloud.
If NBC says we're going to get an inch of rain, do you one-up them and say, "It's gonna be two"?
I'm embarrassed for them when they only have an inch.
Do you feel like you have a responsibility to use your position for good?
I don't know. It depends on the situation.
Could you make it rain tomorrow?
Well, if I wanted to, of course.
What happens if the weather does not do what you intended?
Oh, it always does what I intend. I just don't always let people know.
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That's important. Do you ever just wish you had a chair? Do you get tired of standing up?
No, I don't get tired of standing up. I feel that if I were to sit down, then the viewer wouldn't have an opportunity to see all of me. And I feel like that's something they want. And so, standing up just gives them 100 percent of me. So the more I stand, the more I'm making them happy.
How tall are you?
Will you braid my hair?
On the air?