People Issue

Bow Down to Pete Delkus, Weather God

In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 20 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Can Turkyilmaz. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Pete Delkus always thought he'd be a pitcher. But as he and his big arm rose through the Minnesota Twins organization, Delkus suffered a career-ending elbow injury in the minors. Suddenly he couldn't be a pitcher anymore. Turning to sportscasting, the way so many do when the fates conspire to stop them from achieving their own sporting dreams, Delkus found himself in a situation. The weather reporter had died, and his boss was convinced Delkus was the man to fill in.

Despite being the station's sports reporter, and not knowing a cirrus from a cumulonimbus, Delkus gave it a go. He stuck with it. He got his meteorology qualifications. People seemed to like him. In fact, they really liked him.

Fast forward a decade or two, and Delkus has made Dallas-Fort Worth his home, while Dallas-Fort Worth has made him its weatherman. Excitedly reporting on the latest weather catastrophe to befall our windy, sun-baked burg, Delkus' personality and quirks have made him a cult figure among WFAA viewers and pushed him to wider attention.

It doesn't hurt that his Twitter account, where he consistently (and cheekily) takes credit for the weather closing schools, and endlessly retweets pictures of his favorite clouds, is one of the most entertaining ones out there. There's even a Twitter account dedicated to monitoring whether Delkus' sleeves are currently rolled up or firmly down, the status of which is said to relate directly to the severity of the unfolding weather crisis. There's a Facebook page where he is hailed as St. Delkus and constantly implored as if he were some weather god to save us from any and all kinds of terrifying meteorological horror. To some people Pete Delkus doesn't just tell us what the weather is; the weather is dancing to Delkus' tune.

Let's face it: We get a lot of weather in Dallas. Not "weather" in the sense that sometimes Dallas is bright or sometimes Dallas is overcast. We get tornadoes, hail, flash floods, ice storms, temperatures that will boil you alive, temperatures that will turn you into a popsicle. It's never dull. And we, the people of Dallas, have elected St. Peter Delkus to lead us through these crises, ever-smiling, a man for all seasons. That reflects pretty well on us. Long live St. Delkus.

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Gavin Cleaver
Contact: Gavin Cleaver