James Wieland may be a meteorologist, but he’s also always looking for that next swell
The summer before his senior year of high school, James Wieland went surfing for the first time with a neighbor at Spanish River Park. The waves were small, the ocean was blue and by the end of the session, Wieland was hooked. When a career adviser visited his high school, Wieland already had a career path in mind.
“I kept thinking, what can I do that has to do with surfing, but lets me figure out when there are going to be waves?” Wieland recalls. “Who studies the weather? Meteorologists study the weather. I could be a meteorologist.”
Today, Wieland is living his dream and reporting for WPTV Channel 5 two to three times a day. The “surfing weatherman” grew up in North Lauderdale but has worked all across the east coast as a meteorologist. Wieland’s love for adventure has led him to chase massive storms like Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and fly with the Blue Angels in 2018. However, he always finds time to ride the perfect surf.
“When I started this whole thing, [my goal was] to come back here, to this station, because Channel Five’s been the No. 1 station for years and years,” Wieland says. “It took a lot of bouncing around, but I finally got back.”
While living in South Carolina, Wieland was actually reporting for two different stations at once. For five months he worked at a local station in Florence, and made the two-and-a-half-hour drive every weekend to also work in Spartanburg. Still, the-up-and-coming meteorologist was enthusiastic about his career.
Now, finally working at his dream station, Wieland has the opportunity to fulfill a bucket list item now and then, like when he flew with the Blue Angels last year, experiencing seven Gs of force.
“That was probably the most amazing thing I’ve done in my life. I feel so fortunate,” Wieland says. “It was so crazy. The power that airplane has is ridiculous.”
Wieland’s love for adventure has also taken him to surf spots from the beaches in Panama to Virginia Beach, but he thinks the best place to surf is still the 33480.
“I love Palm Beach. It’s just home for me, and it’s just so beautiful,” Wieland says. “When there are waves, Palm Beach just beats everything for me.”