About the FirstAlert Storm Team

Rick Mitchell has been chief meteorologist for KOCO-TV since his arrival in Oklahoma in 1994. He was born and raised in Nebraska, but Oklahoma is his home.

After graduating in 1987 with a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from the University of Nebraska, Rick began working with a weather forecasting company in Pennsylvania called Accu-Weather. In 1990, Rick moved into his first television job at WOI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa. By 1993, he was named the chief meteorologist, and in 1994 he moved on to KOCO where he has been ever since.

In Oklahoma, Rick has worked through some of state’s worst weather conditions including the May 3, 1999 tornado outbreak. His coverage on that day earned the First Alert Storm Team a special recognition award from then Governor Frank Keating. Rick has also earned awards for his weathercasts from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press. In 1994, he was nominated for a Heartland Emmy Award.

Rick and his wife and two children live in Oklahoma City.

***

Rusty McCranie proudly joined KOCO in March of 2007. He’ll bring you the latest weather information bright and early Monday through Friday on Eyewitness News 5 in the Morning, alongside John Flick and Tierney Cook.

Although a Florida native, Rusty has spent his broadcast career in all different types of weather, from category five hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, to 20″ blizzards in the Northeast.

Rusty holds television Seals of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association (NWA). He has always worked hard to bring viewers reliable and accurate information, and his forecasts are backed by the most prestigious meteorological organizations in the country. Rusty has also earned the title of Certified Broadcast Meteorologist from the AMS.

Before coming to KOCO, Rusty was the Chief Meteorologist at KRCG in Jefferson City, MO. There, he guided viewers through the March 13, 2006 tornado outbreak. Prior to that, he spent time at WDHN in Dothan, AL, Capital News 9 in Albany, NY, WLOX in Biloxi, MS and WDTV in Clarksburg, WV.

In 1999, Rusty won an Associated Press award for the documentary “A Drought in West Virginia”, which chronicled the effects a prolonged dry spell had on agriculture and the people of West Virginia.

Rusty graduated from The University of Florida (Go Gators!) with a degree in Telecommunication News. He went on to study Broadcast Meteorology at Mississippi State University.

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Meteorologist Damon Lane joined the Eyewitness News 5 team in August 2009.

He grew up in the shadows of Washington, DC, in Northern Virginia, before moving to Norfolk, Virginia, to get his degree in Communications/Mass Media from Old Dominion University. After graduating in under four years from ODU, Damon moved to Asheville, NC, to get his second degree from The University of North Carolina at Asheville, in Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology.

Damon started his broadcasting career in Abilene, Texas, where he served the role of Chief Meteorologist and Morning Meteorologist for 4.5 years. There, he won the award of “Abilene’s Favorite Meteorologist” three years in a row.

Damon is a member and seal holder of The American Meteorological Society. During his free time, you will likely see Damon playing outdoors from skiing to hiking and everything in-between. Damon loves to ski, especially in The Grand Tetons of Wyoming as well as The Colorado Rockies. Damon also hopes to climb the tallest mountain in every state (that has them) and hopefully some day … Mount Everest. He enjoys spending time with his dog Skylar and is convinced that he can make the worlds best “jalapeno poppers”.

Damon is excited to be in Oklahoma and can not wait to forecast those explosive spring storms.

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Meteorologist Danielle Dozier joined the Eyewitness News 5 FirstAlert Storm team in December 2011.

Danielle is from Chesapeake, Va., where she became interested in weather at a young age. She received her Associate in Science Degree there before moving to Asheville, N.C., to get her Bachelors in Meteorology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Danielle started her career in Abilene, Texas, where she worked for 4.5 years forecasting weather in the southern fringe of “Tornado Alley.” She helped produce and edit an AP-award-winning, 30-minute weather show during her stay in Texas.

During her spare time, Danielle loves to cook and bake, and she is also a big sports fan.

Danielle loves tracking Oklahoma’s changing weather!

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Steve Carano is not only a member of the First Alert Weather team, he is also a professor at Rose State College, where he teaches meteorology.

Steve worked four years as a meteorologist in the Oklahoma City market before coming to KOCO 5. He has also worked at KTEN-TV in Denison, Texas, where he served as the morning meteorologist for nearly two years.

Steve is a native Oklahoman, born in McAlester (although he spent most of his time in nearby Krebs, the “Little Italy of Oklahoma”).

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.

He also holds a Master of Science degree in Geosciences from Mississippi State University and hopes to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in the near future.

Steve is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. You might also catch him on a different sort of airwave — as an amateur radio operator. His call sign is N5WAV. Steve has been honored with several awards, and was part of the Emmy award-winning effort for coverage of the May 3 Oklahoma City area tornado outbreak.

While in college, Steve was a member of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band and the National Association of College Broadcasters.

Steve enjoys college football (especially OU), hunting and fishing, friends and family, church activities, and of course, storm chasing!

5 Responses

  1. I am a 50 year old man who is an avid tornado chaser and, well, tornado freak. I have been in or near more tornados than I can count – a long story but an interesting one.

    Let me preface this by writing that I do not want anyone hurt by tornados however, I have to admit, it’s the most exciting time of year for me. I wait anxiously each year for this time of year to roll around. It’s one of the reasons I stay in Oklahoma.

    The reason I am posting this is because I am trying to obtain weather conditions for May 3, 1999, before the outbreak began, say from Noon until around 4 pm. I’d like to have the weather conditions for that day for my files and for reference.

    I have been unsuccessful finding this information via web searches. So, I figured, why not contact the very people who were monitoring conditions that day?

    I remember that day there was only a 30% chance of severe storms. I watched coverage of the impending tornado and others that formed in the beginning, from SW Oklahoma until it approached the SW metro.

    At that time, I got in my truck and started to head for Moore, as the tornado drew closer, but once on the interstate I saw a completely black horizon and decided it was just too dangerous for me to chase that monster.

    My other passion during storm season is, I document barometric pressure, temp, dew point and humidity levels on days in spring when severe storms start to form close. (I live in NW OKC)

    The reason being, I am trying to find correlations between certain conditions and the appearance of tornados.

    I would appreciate any help I could get obtaining The high for that day, the average humidity, dew point and barometric pressure at around 4 pm May 3,1999.

    Thank you for your time,

    Nick
    OKC

    P.S. I know you probably get this question often and I fully anticipate the answer to be “no” but (the only dumb question is the one we don’t ask), are there times when a person can do a ride along with a storm chaser, providing said person sign a waiver and have his own insurance?

  2. For Andy Wallace,

    Hey Andy, Just wanted to say hello to a fellow Cameron University Alumni! You and I had communications classes together. Everyone knew my as “Coco.” I’m glad to see you back here in OKC. It was nice flipping through the channels to see someone I knew. I spoke to Kevin Josefy the other day. I’m so glad you two are living the dream! Just wanted to say hello…

  3. hi rick who the young lady? check your blog all the time thanks james

  4. rick — i’m watching you on wdsu in nola right now and you’re doing what you do best here…informing people about tornadoes. they don’t know what good hands they’re in. i’m relaying the info to my folks by phone bc they’re w/o power. wdsu ought to just let you take over! thanks so much for helping everyone down there. mc

  5. I appreciate Rick Mitchell’s excellent coverage during the nasty weather this past weekend. I am happy knowing you are there for us, Rick. I know many others were involved in Ch 5’s top notch coverage and want to thank them too.

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