Jeremy Binckes, a faintly mustachioed 23-year-old, didn’t come to Washington in January all hot on being HuffPost’s resident weatherman. He came to cover politics.
But soon enough, the fog cleared and it was more than his editors could bear as they realized they were sitting on an untapped hotbed of weather information – and not just the stupid kind you hear in elevators.
Each day of the work week, Binckes’s weather reports (filed under Intern Weather Report) appear in the publication’s evening e-mail newsletter, “HuffPost Hill”, written by Eliot Nelson, and overseen by political reporter Ryan Grim and national editor Nico Pitney.
Make no mistake about it – trying to small talk Binckes about weather is a little like trying to talk lightly about atoms to a chemist. Don’t make the mistake of saying something casual like, “Nice weather we’re having,” to someone like Binckes. You’ll be there for an eternity as he talks pressure systems, surface maps and cool fronts.
To be sure, Binckes is serious about his weather. “As much as people laugh about it, I really do try to be accurate,” he said. “I care about it.”
Of course, no weatherman gets it right 100 percent of the time…
Binckes has found a tough critic in political reporter Sam Stein, who gives the twenty-something a hard time about occasionally getting the weather report wrong. (Which is how this all started out – Binckes would give weather reports in the newsroom and colleagues would make fun of him about it.)
Weather isn’t easy. Binckes says it’s a “crap shoot” when you have high temperatures and high humidity. “Most likely you’re going to say there’s a possibility of scattered showers,” he said.
Nelson takes Binckes weather reports seriously enough. “JB was a revelation,” Nelson told FishbowlDC. “I knew I had to harness his star power for Huffpost Hill, lest the world never know the knee-buckling charm of Jeremy Binckes.”
Nelson explained, “The weather report was born out of JB’s meteorological musings, which he regularly shares with the office. Plus he had this super sweet mustache, so the weatherman thing seemed like a natural fit. Plus, I mean, it’s JB.”
Binckes credits his formative years and his father for his intense interest in weather. He grew up in Rockaway, N.Y. on a peninsula bordered by Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. “My father was a weather junkie,” he said. “Still is.”
Binckes’s first weather memory was the Nor’easter of ’92. “It was the prefect storm, you know, the one they made the movie about,” he said, recalling that his father took he and his sister out of school for the day (a storm/snow day if you will) to watch the storm come in. “We spent 10 minutes watching the water eat away at the dunes, the storm surge had entered the parking lot and was starting to lap at the cars…”
The intern doesn’t know whether or not he wants to be a real weatherman someday. “Weatherman have such horrible jobs because when they’re wrong they always get blamed,” he said knowingly.
For now, he’ll stick with being the weatherman intern. But he’s not kidding. “I want people to know I’m serious,” he said. “Weather is as much a part of my life as anything else like politics or sports. It’s very, very exciting.”