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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 9, 2001

Weather Channel contest winner enjoys a little aloha

By Mary Kaye Ritz
Advertiser Staff Writer

When Mish Michaels graduated from college in 1990, she called a TV station here to see if she could snag her dream job.

 •  The Weather Channel's prime time show airs on Wednesday evenings.
 •  Joel Taylor's Hawai'i segment will air on Sept. 26, or check online.
 •  After the broadcast, viewers can chat online with Joel Taylor or program hosts Mish Michaels and Jim Cantore from 9-10 p.m. EST (check satellite programming guide for Hawai'i air times).
The answer just about broke the heart of this would-be meteorologist: They didn't have a job for her. TV stations here didn't have regular weather segments then, other than a passing line from the anchor.

The Boston-based co-host of "Atmospheres," a weekly program on the Weather Channel, laughed at the memory Tuesday. For the last week and through the next one, she and a Weather Channel crew are in Hawai'i with the winner of a best-weather-story contest the network held.

While here, they will have been or will be:

  • Exploring caves in Hana (she was just a little queasy after a ride to and from Kihei),
  • Stargazing from the Mauna Ke'a observatory,
  • Taking a helicopter tour, kayaking,
  • Biking down Kilauea volcano,
  • Seeing the Na Pali coast from a cata-maran,
  • "Walking with the fishes."

Her guest for this trip, Joel Taylor, explained how you do that: You don a big helmet, then walk the ocean floor with the contraption weighing you down.

Taylor, an Oklahoma meteorology major, won the trip as part of the show's contest.

He grew up on a farm outside Oklahoma City, the oldest of three siblings. He's been chasing storms since 1998 and keeps the TV tuned to the Weather Channel while doing his homework.

The Weather Channel is available in Hawai'i on Time Warner in Hilo and on National Cable Television Cooperative, which includes Verison Media Ventures — Honolulu and Garden Island Telecommunications — Kaua'i.

However, you can read his bio and on-location diary at www.weather.com/weatherquest. The Web site is updated daily.

Joel Taylor is the Weather Channel contest winner.
This summer, the Weather Channel and weather.com asked viewers to share their wildest weather experiences on videotape. Taylor responded with a tape describing the May 3, 1999, twister that wrought havoc in southern Oklahoma City.

In it, he described the experience of chasing that storm, with its winds reaching 318 mph. He and a friend got so close they felt insulation drop on them from a house that had been chewed up and spit out by the twister.

Taylor, who lives in Elk City, Okla., and is a senior at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, talked via cell phone on his way to the airport about his first trip to Hawai'i, focusing, of course, on the stuff of polite conversation.

"The weather here is so great," he said. "Right now, where I'm from, it's 106 degrees."

"He's fixing never to go back!" said Michaels, from the next seat.

Between chasing a ferocious twister and jetting off to Hawai'i as winner of the Weather Channel's "Weather Quest" contest, will Taylor, just 21, be able to top this?

"It's going to be very difficult," he said. "I'm getting everything over while I'm young."

After graduating next spring, Taylor plans to go into broadcasting.

And now, perhaps, he'll have a different answer when he makes the call to a TV station in Hawai'i.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the availability of The Weather Channel in Hawai'i.