Hurricane forecaster John Hope dies

ATLANTA, June 13 (UPI) -- The Weather Channel's John Raymond Hope, one of the nation's best known hurricane forecasters, died in Atlanta Thursday from complications following heart surgery. He was 83.

Hope was cited as the "voice of reason" when broadcasting during extreme severe weather for The Weather Channel. In 1999, USA TODAY Founder Al Neuharth ranked John Hope fifth among the nation's top ten broadcasters. He was the only weather forecaster on the list.


Hope was born on May 14, 1919, the second of five children on a dairy farm in Stowell, Penn. He attended grammar school in a one-room classroom that was often reached by a long walk through the woods in the snow, and high school in Wyalusing and Meshoppen, Penn.

He served in the Army Air Corps from 1941 until 1945, beginning his career in weather as a flight navigator in the Pacific. After the war he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in Meteorology from the University of Illinois and earned his master's at the University of Chicago.

Hope began his career in the United States Weather Bureau in 1949 as a district forecaster in Memphis, Tenn., where he worked for nearly 13 years.


He joined the Spaceflight Meteorology Group in 1962, and left in 1975 to become a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. He moved to the Weather Channel in 1982.

"John Hope literally personifies The Weather Channel to consumers, and he has been a pivotal person in our history," wrote Frank Batten, Sr., in his recent book, The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon.

Batten said Hope was "a role model for our staff and a symbol of what we stand for - integrity, expertise, reliability."

Hope's many honors included the U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal, the National Hurricane Conference Media Award and The Neil Frank Award from the National Hurricane Conference. He was a fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Hope wrote about weather for a variety of publications and journals, and he lectured around the world.

Hope is survived by his wife, Bernice, one daughter, three sons, six grandchildren and a brother.

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