Hillsboro native Ethan Emery’s childhood aspirations came to fruition this month when he started as a weekend meteorologist and multimedia journalist for Fox 19 Now in Cincinnati.
“Meteorology has been something I’ve always been interested in since I can remember – since I was at least 6 years old,” said Emery.
His future path was foreshadowed when his first-grade teacher submitted a picture of a Main Street Primary School on a sunny day to the Times-Gazette, and it was published as part of a daily weather forecast.
“I always look back on that just because it was really neat that I drew that, but for it to be in the weather section and to see where I’ve come since then is just mind-blowing,” he said.
Emery’s initial fascination with the weather was sparked by noticing a weather phenomenon known as “snow rollers” that is caused by the melting of a top layer of snow that strong winds form into something that looks like round bales of hay.
“You see those in yards or on hills, and as a kid that blew my mind that that could happen,” said Emery. “I actually remember growing up watching Steve Horstmeyer, and he explained those kind of things, and that got me really interested and kind of brought the geek out in me, and ever since then I’ve loved the weather and wanted to learn more about it.”
Horstmeyer is a veteran Cincinnati meteorologist who is the current chief meteorologist at Fox 19 Now. “I get to work with somebody I grew up watching and idolizing,” said Emery. “To be able to work with somebody like that was a very rare opportunity.”
After graduating from Hillsboro High School, Emery went to Southern State Community College and then transferred to Ohio University in Athens. During his time at Ohio University, he served as intern at Fox 19 Now. After receiving his degree in meteorology in 2018, he worked at television stations in Rapid City, South Dakota and Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Emery’s path to his current role was more challenging than it may appear.
“It took a lot of work because I actually grew up with a stutter and my social skills weren’t the best,” he said. “I was pretty shy for a while, but it was one of those things where if you really want to do something, and there is something that you’re really engaged with you need to have the right attitude and work ethic and put in that time to better develop yourself. That’s how I got to where I am.”
Emery took speech classes in high school and college to sharpen his skills. He also completed a broadcast voice class and a theater course at Southern State Community College.
“That helped me come out of my shell a little bit more and be more animated because when you watch TV you don’t want someone being dull and boring. You want to have energy,” he said.
During his time working in Kentucky, Emery saw last year’s tragic tornado outbreak in the region firsthand.
“It ripped through Bowling Green and went through the city,” he said. “There were multiple long-tracked violent tornadoes, and that was really a night I’ll never forget because we were covering it for ten and a half hours.”
Emery rode out the storm at the television station and returned to his apartment to find the tornado’s path had been just 300 yards away.
“After doing that severe tornado coverage, I’m very grateful that I’m OK, and I’m very thankful that this job allowed me to help protect people from that violent night, but that event also helped me get to this point of being in Cincinnati giving me more expertise when it comes to active weather,” said Emery.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.