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Dreyer with Weekend Today co-hosts Sheinelle Jones and Al Roker

When a weather disaster strikes, meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, 36, provides her weather predictions and analysis on many shows, including the “Today Show,” “Weekend Today,” “Sunday TODAY” and “NBC Nightly News.” She’s also making a name for herself with her new show “Journey,” which offers an up-close-and-personal view of nature.  

Dreyer, who grew up in Manalapan and spent summers at the Jersey Shore, has recently weathered some storms of her own, including the shocking firing of former Today Show anchor Matt Lauer and being quarantined with the flu in Pyeongchang while covering the 2018 Winter Olympics. Mom to 15-month-old son Calvin, the meteorologist spoke to SJ about life on the air – and on the road. 

Q: Have you ever feared for your life while covering a storm?  

Dreyer: I remember being genuinely scared in 2014, when Hurricane Gonzalo was hitting Bermuda. It was a Category 3 – just before landfall it was a strong Category 2, and it hit overnight. I was in my hotel room alone, and the curtains were blowing because the windows were bowing so much from the wind. I thought for sure the glass was going to break. It was wind like I’ve never experienced before. I went into the bathroom, because I felt that was safer, crouched down between the toilet and the bathtub. I had no cell phone service and was just counting down the hours until the night would be over. I was scared and alone – I couldn’t talk to anyone – and I had no idea what was going to happen. Fortunately, the whole island of Bermuda was fine. 

Q: How do you stay professional when the weather you’re covering has destroyed people’s lives? 

Dreyer: So many of our news reporters do a wonderful job of covering the stories of the people who are impacted by the weather, and as a meteorologist, I cover the actual forecast and the weather side. But over the course of doing that, you run into neighborhoods that are totally underwater and people who have all their stuff on a little raft and are treading through the water. After the storm’s over, I tend to have this crazy feeling of guilt that I got to come back to my home and life and job, and there are people who are going to be affected by this for months and months to come. 

Q: Do situations like that ever make you question your job? 

Dreyer: I go into this Zen place where I know the science behind the weather, and I know why it’s happening. In Bermuda, I had talked to the hotel owner and knew the building was able to withstand winds that high, so I reasoned with myself. Meteorology is what I love. I do ask myself why I love it sometimes, but not why I’m out here doing it. 

Q: What was it like to cover the Winter Olympics in South Korea? 

Dreyer: This was my first Olympics and the experience of a lifetime. I was in South Korea for 19 days. I’d never been to that part of the world before, and to actually get to eat authentic Korean food was wonderful. It was so much fun to explore and try different things. The only hard part was being away from my son for so long, and the lowlight was getting the flu when I wasn’t in my own bed. 

Dylan Dreyer and her son Calvin

Q: What’s your favorite story from your time in South Korea? 

Dreyer: We did one story where we were following the parents of the twins, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, on the women’s hockey team. Going into it, we didn’t know the women’s hockey team would end up winning gold. I got to talk to the twins and their parents, and go to several games. We were following the story of how parents of Olympic athletes watch the Olympics – it’s such a different feeling for them. It was so exciting when they ended up winning. 

Q: What’s a typical day like? 

Dreyer: I wake up at 4 in the morning, get ready, go into work to do the Today Show, and around 10:30 or 11 I’ll plan on heading home. Oftentimes, like if there’s a nor’easter, I’m already thinking about where I’m going to go, how I’m going to get there and what time I should be there. Does Nightly News need me that night and then the Today Show wants me there the next morning? Or does the Today Show want me to go someplace else that’s going to get different weather in the morning? There are a lot of logistics that get thrown at you in a moment’s notice when these storms arise. 

Q: How do those last-minute changes affect your son? 

Dreyer: It’s tough. The first 20 minutes is so stressful – I have to pack and pick my flights. I watch how I act in front of Calvin because I don’t want him to think work is a bad thing. I need to smile and say, “I’ve got to go to work.” I don’t want those goodbyes to be hard. 

Q: There have been big changes on the Today Show with Matt Lauer’s firing. How do you feel now after so much turmoil? 

Dreyer: Throughout the course of my career I’ve noticed that every few months something changes, and you just roll with it. It was certainly a difficult time for all of us here, because it was such a big change, but you have to keep going forward. Time always helps, because you get into a new normal. 

Q: Part of your new normal is your show Journey. What prompted you to take on this project? 

Dreyer: It’s good, old-fashioned family programming that I think is missing at times. I get so much positive feedback from families who tweet or email me to say they watch this with their kids every Saturday morning, and there is nothing more gratifying than hearing that. It’s a half-hour show that takes people around the world, sometimes up into outer space and sometimes to the bottom of the ocean. It brings nature into your living room.

May 2018
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