By ANDY OURIEL
For The Courier
NORWALK — Based on his career trajectory to date, the future forecast for a nationally televised meteorologist appears bright and sunny with no cloudy skies in sight.
Joe Astolfi, a Sandusky native, works as an on-air personality for WeatherNation, a 24/7 network available in 30 million U.S. homes. It’s headquartered in Colorado, close to Denver, where Astolfi resides today.
He began working for the company in 2014 after a brief stint with the NBC-affiliated station in Rockford, Illinois, near Chicago and by his alma mater, Northern Illinois University.
“I have always been interested in weather,” said Astolfi, who also attended Terra State Community College in Fremont. “I always got excited when there would be a thunderstorm or a crazy winter storm. Then I realized I should pursue meteorology.”
With his colleagues, Astolfi informs viewers of national weather projections. He also tells viewers about impending disasters heading their way.
“If there is a big East Coast storm or a hurricane in the South or a snowstorm in the Rockies or a tornado outbreak in the Plains, we’re letting people know what’s going on,” Astolfi said.
One example includes Astolfi providing exhaustive coverage on the devastating Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged parts of Texas and Louisiana, in August 2017.
Astolfi also reports on weather events happening in the Firelands. During a November 2017 telecast, he warned his parents, Dave and Sue, about a possible tornado touching down near their home in Oxford Township. It was the same storm that destroyed bleachers at Margaretta High School’s football stadium.
“There was a severe weather alert, and all these tornado warnings popped up in northern Ohio and Erie County,” Astolfi said. “I was on air and said, ‘Mom and Dad: If you are watching, go down in the basement now.’ I called them during our next commercial break. Luckily, no one was hurt.”
And, during less-tense moments, Astolfi also never passes up on a golden opportunity to showcase his hometown.
“If something crazy is happening, I’ll request video that I see on social media to highlight the area,” Astolfi said. “A few days ago, for instance, there was a big roll cloud rolling through the skies above Sandusky and Cedar Point that we featured on-air.”
When vacationing back in Ohio, Astolfi even captures videos of the local area and sends them back to his colleagues.
“I’m proud of where I’m from,” Astolfi said. “It’s pretty surreal to keep an eye out on my hometown.”
Dedication to his roots is among the many qualities Astolfi’s colleagues appreciate about him.
“Joe is the epitome of a utility player. He is someone you can always count on, no matter the situation,” said Karissa Klos, director of on-air operations for WeatherNation. “On severe weather days, he’s grinding and doing what he can to get the latest information out. On quiet days, he’s looking past the surface of a sunny day to find the deeper story. His attention to detail makes us better as a network. His relationships in the newsroom always boost morale and encourage a positive group dynamic.”
Astolfi wants to continue working as a meteorologist, a career providing much value to viewers and himself.
“I’m thankful to be in a position to forecast the weather for the nation,” he said. “I enjoy the field of meteorology because I can play a part of helping people and keeping them safe.”
Andy Ouriel is a reporter for the Sandusky Register. Reach him at email@example.com.