Oklahoma residents came to appreciate Aaron Tuttle’s spot-on weather forecasts through the local news. Today, many still follow him off-air, continuing to rely on his weather expertise.
These days, the Texas native isn’t standing in front of a fancy studio green screen or working with the buzzing staff of a television weather hub, but is forecasting through his own Facebook page and website. His self-funded smartphone app beeps to life when angry clouds drop hail and twisters, and also lets folks know their kids’, spouse’s and parents’ locations are under warnings too.
His Facebook page, Aaron Tuttle Meteorologist, has more than 72,000 followers. His app, ATsWeatherToGo, is a popular download, and his website, aarontuttleweather.com, is still churning out weather news even though Tuttle isn’t on the air. From television to entrepreneur, Tuttle is the weather guy many residents choose to trust.
“You learn all these things along the way, and you take that knowledge and apply it,” Tuttle said. “Where I go from here is the interesting part.”
Aaron was that kid who liked to watch the weather. He compared which meteorologists got the forecast right, and he would sit on the roof of his Dallas home to watch storms when most people did the more sensible thing and hid indoors.
“Snow was always a huge deal in Dallas. I remember there were two weather guys—Harold Taft and Troy Duncan—who I used to watch, and Harold was my go-to guy,” Tuttle said. “I repeated everything he said to my parents. I really liked weather, but I also really liked art, tinkering with stuff and engineering and science.”
A meteorologist doesn’t just learn weather, but also mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science and programming. Tuttle had to learn engineering as well. But, with passion comes determination, and Tuttle graduated from Texas A&M in 1996, starting his career at a station in Bryan College Station, Texas.
“I spent 12 years in the television business in three different markets,” Tuttle said. “I did quite a bit of storm chasing in college and in Texas.”
Tuttle moved to Oklahoma City in 2001 and became one of the most recognizable faces on local television.
“At Channel 5, Rick Mitchell and I worked really, really well together,” said Tuttle. “He was out in front of the camera on the green screen, but he’s blind until the map behind him tells him what’s going on. The team makes that happen. With that in mind, Rick trusted me with running the radar. That was my thing, and I was good at it.”
Television weather forecasting and storm chasing during a major storm event is “a multi-tasking nightmare,” Tuttle said. Storm chasers are all around, video is going dark sometimes, everyone is on high alert, and Tuttle said he was “always amazed how the finished product looked: fluid and dynamic despite the sheer chaos behind the scenes.”
By 2007, Tuttle was burning out. He wondered if he saw himself doing the weather 20 years later. He realized it was time to start something new.
“Television is tough,” Tuttle said. “When the viewers love you, they really love you, but if your popularity starts to drop, everyone panics. You’re the ‘it’ person until the next guy comes around.”
These days, Tuttle works second level support for the terminal Doppler Radar at the FAA center at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. As a meteorologist, he helps monitor the conditions around 45 of the nation’s airports to ensure that planes are not affected by adverse weather or unexpected wind gusts.
In his spare time, he’s still letting Oklahomans and others know what to expect from the weather.
“In 2010, I decided to start up a Facebook page so I could keep forecasting,” Tuttle said. “I posted stuff, and it grew and grew. What was the secret? Well, when you watch others on television, there’s no interaction. I answered people’s questions as often as I could, but now, it’s about managing and interacting with my fans.”
Because of the popularity, Tuttle created his own weather app, which is free to the public.
“I’ve learned you can be an entrepreneur, and in doing that, I took weather forecasting and broadened it,” Tuttle said. “Now, it’s about making it sustainable.”
Although Tuttle won’t share specifics, he has big plans for the future. “I want to expand the weather website and bring on more team players,” he said. “It’s about maintaining balance and sanity.”
Follow Aaron Tuttle on Facebook at “Aaron Tuttle Meteorologist.”