Minneapolis Station Looks to Colorful Past for Rooftop Weather Forecast

By Kevin Eck 

Minneapolis-St. Paul CBS owned station WCCO is going old school with its new rooftop sign called the Weather Watcher that that changes colors depending to the weather.

According to the station, “Red means it’ll get warmer. Blue, cooler. White signals no change, and green means snow or rain.”

The Weather Watcher is part of a larger rooftop weather area featuring a full outdoor kitchen, a lawn and artwork made by artists using local materials.


“In Minnesota, our lives revolve around the weather and WCCO-TV is proud to present this Minneapolis landmark and important public service,” Brien Kennedy, WCCO-TV’s vice president and general manager said in a statement.

According to the Pioneer Press,  the Weather Watcher is a reminder of the area’s past. “It’s a nod to the iconic Weatherball that was perched on top of the Northwestern National Bank building in downtown Minneapolis for more than 30 years before a fire destroyed the building on Thanksgiving Day in 1982.”

The Weatherball also was famous for its earworm jingle telling folks what weather the colors indicated. WCCO has created its own catchy song for the new sign, explaining that blue means cold weather is ahead, red represents warmer weather, green signals rain or snow and white stands for no change.

On Sunday’s 6 p.m. newscast, the station will show off the Weather Watcher. Although it doesn’t have nearly the reach the Weatherball did — according to the station, it’s about 100 feet up — you can’t miss it if you’re in downtown Minneapolis near the WCCO-TV building at Nicollet Avenue and 11th Street. Colors also will be displayed at wcco.com and during newscasts.

WCCO chief meteorologist Chris Shaffer said the station’s weather team is in charge of lighting the sign with the appropriate colors.

“Not only is it an attractive sign that will draw the attention of people who are walking in downtown Minneapolis, it’s also another forecasting tool for us,” Shaffer said.