Shadowing WBZ-TV Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski ’05

Meteorologists Sarah Wroblewski and Terry Eliaison work side by side

By Brooke Coupal

TV meteorologists do a lot more than just talk about the weather. They break down the science, analyze weather models and create graphics. They develop in-depth stories on climate change and extreme weather. They educate schoolchildren and emcee community events. 

“I never have the same day twice,” says WBZ-TV Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski ’05, who gave us a behind-the-scenes look at a typical day. Here’s how a recent workday unfolded for the former River Hawk.

9:30 a.m. Wroblewski arrives at the CBS News Boston headquarters on Soldiers Field Road in Boston’s Allston neighborhood.

9:34 a.m. Morning meteorologist Zach Green and his dog, Scout, the “unofficial mascot of
WBZ-TV,” greet Wroblewski in the Weather Center. The two meteorologists catch up on the morning weather and
discuss story ideas for an upcoming
series on hurricanes.

9:51 a.m. Sarah checks in with WBZ-TV executive weather producer Terry Eliason ’97. The duo first met when Wroblewski interned at the news station while a student at UML. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my internship,” says Wroblewski, who credits the experience with helping her build the connections that led to a full-time career at WBZ-TV. 

10 a.m. Wroblewski responds to emails, including one for an upcoming story on hurricane risk assessment.

10:17 a.m. As a busy mother of four, including an 11-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter and 3-year-old twins, Wroblewski says coffee is a necessity. On this day, she’s sipping an iced coffee from Starbucks.

10:18 a.m. It’s time to prepare the forecast for the noon show. Wroblewski begins by looking at weather models for the country before focusing on New England. She works with Eliason to create weather graphics that viewers can easily digest. “Our forecast is built on math and science, even though on TV the viewer just sees pretty graphics and numbers,” she says. “We break down the science to be able to share that information with people of all ages.”

10:48 a.m. After analyzing the local forecast, Wroblewski compares her findings with those from the National Weather Service, a federal government agency.

Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski creates a graphic

10:55 a.m. She pulls out a UMass Lowell notebook, where she logs the seven-day forecast. The notebook is filled with forecasts dating back to the beginning of the year. 

11 a.m. Wroblewski signs into iNEWS, software that producers use to build the rundown of the noon show. She notes that she will be live on-air at 12:04 p.m. and 12:13 p.m.

11:03 a.m. She makes final tweaks to the weather graphics before arranging them in the order in which she wants to present them on TV. She then adds transitions between the graphics, so they appear more smoothly on the viewer’s screen.

11:17 a.m. With just the graphics in front of her, Wroblewski rehearses what she will say for both of her weather hits. When it comes time to go on-air, she won’t use the teleprompter. Instead, she’ll deliver the forecast to viewers from memory.

11:24 a.m. She logs into Twitter and uploads some of the weather graphics into a post, teasing the upcoming coverage at noon.

Tweet by Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski

11:29 a.m. To get ready for the show, Wroblewski relies on a glam team of one: herself. Using a well-lit, full-length mirror located outside the Weather Center, she applies makeup and curls her hair. The whole process takes her about 15 minutes. 

11:46 a.m. She puts in an earpiece that will allow staffers in the control room to communicate with her during the show. She also gets her mic ready.

12:04 p.m. Wroblewski delivers a one-minute weather forecast in front of a green screen, which allows for her weather graphics to be displayed behind her. Rain is forecast for the evening, but the remainder of the week is looking sunny.

12:06 p.m. Back in the Weather Center, she goes through photos that viewers submitted of current weather conditions in their neighborhoods. She approves some to be aired on TV.

12:10 p.m. The photos are shown live while Wroblewski talks over them from her seat in the Weather Center. She teases the full forecast, scheduled for after the commercial break.

12:11 p.m. Wroblewski checks the order of the weather graphics and adds additional ones for the full weather forecast. She also touches up her lipstick.

Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski in front of a green screen

12:13 p.m. Back on-air and in front of the green screen, she talks about the forecast for two minutes and 45 seconds.

12:17 p.m. The on-air newscast will end at 12:30 p.m., but Wroblewski has to prep for a half-hour newscast set to be streamed live on the CBS Boston website directly after. She switches out some graphics to keep the forecast fresh.

12:27 p.m. She teases the upcoming streaming newscast on Twitter.

12:33 p.m. Wroblewski presents a one-minute forecast in WBZ-TV’s second studio.

12:41 p.m.  After the commercial break, she discusses the forecast for another two minutes and 45 seconds.

Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski on the set of WBZ News

12:45 p.m. Done with being on-air for the day, Wroblewski removes her earpiece and mic.

12:48 p.m. She heads to a private room to conduct a Zoom interview for a “Women in Science” feature story. She adjusts the lighting in the room and goes over the questions that she prepared the day before.

1 p.m. The Zoom interview starts. Today, she’s interviewing Lt. Col. Kaitlyn McLaughlin, 53rd WRS chief aerial reconnaissance weather officer, also known as a hurricane hunter. McLaughlin, who grew up in Massachusetts, flies into hurricanes and other storms to collect data.

1:30 p.m. A half hour later, the Zoom interview ends. “That was all such good information,” Wroblewski says. “Now, I have to break that down into a two-minute package.”

1:33 p.m.  She sends herself the Zoom recording and takes a break to eat lunch, a salad.

1:58 p.m. Once again in the Weather Center, she logs sound bites from the Zoom interview. She also reviews videos and photos that McLaughlin sent to her to be used as visuals in the story.

2:53 p.m. With an idea of how she wants the video package to look, she creates a script that details what she will say and what sound bites will be used.

3:17 p.m. Wroblewski finds an editor who can turn her video package idea into a reality. She collaborates with the editor, who uses the videos, photos and sound bites to create a cohesive package. Wroblewski tracks her audio for the story, using the script that she wrote.

4:11 p.m. With the package not expected to run on TV until next week, Wroblewski heads back to her computer to answer emails and prepare for the following day, when she is scheduled to meet with third graders in Arlington, Massachusetts, to talk about weather and climate.

Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski works on a laptop in the studio

4:18 p.m. She preps a PowerPoint presentation for the school visit, simplifying the science of meteorology into something that children will be able to understand.

4:33 p.m. Wroblewski briefs WBZ-TV chief meteorologist Eric Fisher about her earlier forecast as he preps to be on-air for the 5 p.m. show.

5:01 p.m. She leaves work and heads home to be with her husband and four kids. The family has big plans for the night: rooting for her 11-year-old in his hockey game. Wroblewski is forecasting a win.