Long before a freak blizzard ripped into town and left more than a foot of snow in its wake, the citizens of Crossville, Tenn., and region had been warned to prepare for a freezing onslaught.
Fully a week earlier, local meteorologist Steve Norris had taken a close look at his charts and data and determined, “Whoa! We’re in for a big one.” A full-time radio broadcaster for Crossville radio station WIHG (“The Hog”), Norris got the word out to most of eastern Tennessee and also to a wider, multi-state area via TV stations and newspapers which routinely check his weather reports.
That was in 1993, and Norris received a commendation from the citizens of Cumberland County for his outstanding service and contributions to the community.
Commendations are commonplace
For Norris, 50, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, it was but one of many commendations he’s received since he began work as a meteorologist in 1977. Blizzards contribute to the mix, but he’s had more than his share of tornados, too.
|A storm chaser at heart, Steve Norris says he gets an adrenaline rush from broadcasting critical weather information "to keep people safe."|
In 1987, Norris earned the prestigious Weathercaster Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association. He’s an associate member of the American Meteorological Society, and sits on the board of directors of the Cumberland County 911 Emergency Communications District that handles all emergency and routine dispatch operations for all emergency response agencies in the county.
“Totally hyped with the rush”
“I’d have probably been a storm chaser if I could, because on our severe broadcasting days in the spring, I am totally hyped with the rush you get from broadcasting critical information to keep people safe,” he says. “I realize I’m under the gun, and I love it, staying focused to give our folks the warnings they need.”
Norris, who has relied on a wheelchair since age 6, stays focused on maintaining his independence as well. He lives on his own, with access to caregivers day and night. When he needs to travel any significant distance, a friend drives him in Norris’ adapted 1992 van. Other times, including on many trips to town, he cruises the distance in his power wheelchair.
National broadcaster material
His philosophy, Norris says, is “work hard, never give up and just keep striving for goals. You get friends; you get out and meet people. You do all you can with what you’ve got, and don’t be bitter, thinking about what you don’t have. I always saw my glass as half-full instead of half-empty, and now it’s almost full!”
Because he loves sports, Norris hopes in the near future to broadcast sports on radio or TV, but he also wants to add to his list of weather forecasting gigs. “With my background, and with the Internet and digital recording, I can broadcast for stations anywhere in the U.S.,” he says confidently.
There’s no question this weather guy is talent on the rise, and he’s happy to talk about his jobs and his aspirations with all who’d care to chat. Reach him via e-mail at email@example.com.