If there are Marks-a-Lots in heaven, we're gonna be all right. Nash Roberts will have the weather covered.
The legendary New Orleans weatherman and hurricane guru got promoted to the ultimate Weather Center this weekend at age 92.
If it was a storm, and if it was in the Gulf of Mexico, Nash Roberts had it covered, and he pretty much always knew where it was going to end up -- and this in the age of doing math on paper, peering into World War II-vintage radar scopes and drawing TV weather maps with a black, felt-tip marker.
If Nash said it, it must be so -- that's what about three generations of folks in south Louisiana came to think of the fixture on Channels 4, 6 and 8. May the Good Lord see things the same way as ol' Nash -- the poor, sunken city of New Orleans' meteorological guardian angel -- gets sent up to the majors.
WWL-TV in New Orleans announced the sad news Sunday evening:
During a career that lasted more than 50 years on local television, New Orleans viewers came to trust his calm and accurate forecasts so much so that the question “What does Nash say?” was the way many gauged the potential impact of an impending weather system.NASH ROBERTS is gone. Now the Gulf Coast is stuck with those damned computer models, none of which was produced by a supercomputer with even a fraction as much processing power as a certain meteorologist's brain.
“Sometimes I wish I knew myself why I am right,” Roberts said in a 1998 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But a portion of it is just instinctive. It’s just a talent I have.”
Roberts retired from meteorology and his on-air role at WWL-TV during hurricane season in 2001. Throughout his career, he was the informed and educated voice of calm and reason, and his forecasting with felt-tip pens (which served him well, years into the high-tech age of broadcast meteorology) helped illustrate the direction of hurricanes since 1947. When he was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Broadcasters Association’s New Orleans Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the group commented that Roberts had been on the air longer than 95 percent of the stations in the country. By the time he retired, Roberts had worked at three of the city’s television stations.
For over five decades, the New Orleans native was a rock of stability during trying times: the horror of Hurricane Audrey in 1957, the devastation of Hurricanes Betsy and Camille in the 1960s, and the heart-stopping threat of Hurricane Georges in 1998. Roberts was there through it all, with his simple map, felt-tipped pen and lifetime of weather wisdom.
The Times-Picayune summed up Roberts’ impact in 1998, in a special issue commemorating 50 years of television in New Orleans: “His power is tremendous. Some of us won't go to sleep until Nash says it's OK. His strong suit is personal forecasts - a mix of hunch and 50 years of knowledge - mapped out in Magic Marker.”