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Local Weatherman Top Finalist for National Award

January 22, 2020, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated January 21, 3:46 PM
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Michael Phillips

Big Island resident Michael Phillips and the team of meteorologists that report under the Weatherboy brand are a top-5 finalist in the National Weatherperson of the Year Award.

Phillips is the lead meteorologist on the Weatherboy team, which reports on weather and environmental news stories around the world for weatherboy.com and on social media.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized for all of our efforts in 2019 forecasting and reporting on everything from blizzards to fires, from earthquakes to volcanoes, and from hurricanes to tropical storms,” Phillips said. “It is very humbling to be in the running with other meteorological legends; I hope we can do Hawaii and the other areas we serve proud by winning the award.”

The National Weatherperson of the Year Award is presented to a weatherperson with a record of proven commitment to protecting the public from severe weather through excellence in communication and service to the disaster safety and resilience movement, according to a Weatherboy press release. Dozens of meteorologists from across the country in television, private industry, and the government were nominated, of which “Weatherboy” became a top 5 finalist.

This is the second year in a row Weatherboy was nominated. As a member of the Weatherboy team, Phillips was involved in breaking earth science news stories in Hawaii and elsewhere in 2019.

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He was one of 30 people in the world selected to go on an Aurora Hunters mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Norwegian Space Centre in Tromsø, Norway in March. That mission, designed to better understand how solar flares impact the Earth, brought Phillips north of the Arctic to meet with top European scientists on the topic of space weather.

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In December, Phillips spent most of the month in Australia, writing and photographing the massive wildfires there. Time was even spent at a koala sanctuary outside of Brisbane, where Phillips tended to injured koalas traumatized by the ongoing disaster there.

Phillips flew over 230,000 miles last year for the Weatherboy crew. There was also a lot of action happening close to home.

At the start of hurricane season, the release states, Phillips was on-hand at the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu to review and share their seasonal outlook there. Last week, Phillips traveled to the summit of Maunakea to document the recent heavy snowfall there.

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“While I don’t mind the journeys to Sydney or Tromsø, it certainly is nice to stay local and participate in the weather here,” Phillips said. “The weather on the Big Island is extremely varied and just being here to experience it is a dream come true for any meteorologist.”

During the government shut-down last winter, Phillips hand-delivered food donated by Weatherboy to the men and women that work at the Honolulu office of the National Weather Service. During the shutdown, those meteorologists went weeks without getting paid.

Phillips is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the National Weather Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and serves as Vice President of the Big Island Press Club.

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