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Kirstie Zontini

Storm Center 7 Meteorologist

I am thrilled to be a part of the Storm Center 7 team.  WHIO is an outstanding news operation and I am happy to call the Miami Valley my new home. 

Growing up in Cleveland, I was exposed to all that Ohio weather has to offer from strong storms to lake-effect snow.  It made me curious at a young age to learn why we see the weather we see.  That urge to challenge myself and find the answers is something I continue to work towards in each forecast.

I graduated from Ohio University in 2011 with a degree in Broadcast News and a Meteorology specialization.  I am also finishing up Mississippi State University’s Broadcast Meteorology Certificate Program.  My time in Athens gave me a great chance to forecast for southeast Ohio.  I worked for our PBS-affiliate WOUB forecasting and doing weather for our nightly news program.  This gave me a great chance to take what I was learning in class and apply it in a real newsroom setting.

Right after graduation I accepted a job in Youngstown, Ohio at WKBN/WYTV as a weekend meteorologist and weekday video journalist.  Forecasting for a region greatly influenced by Lake Erie was a wonderful challenge and helped me grow professionally.   Between severe weather season and lake-effect snow in the winter, there was never a dull moment.  

If I’m not in the weather center I am probably outside enjoying the day or looking for a new restaurant to try. 

 

Where were you born?
Illinois

Where did you grow up?
Eastlake, Ohio 

What was your favorite TV show then?
Rugrats

What was the first thing you ever wanted to be?  
A singer and I have plenty of embarrassing home videos when I was young to prove it.  

How might someone have described you in high school?  
I think they would say I was friendly and motivated.  I liked to challenge myself so I did everything from taking AP Biology to singing in our show choir.  I made a lot of great friends through the years.  

Were you involved in any high school sports?  
I played fast pitch softball and was a cheerleader.  

What was your first journalism job? 
My first paid job was in Youngstown, Ohio at WKBN/WYTV as a weekend meteorologist and weekday video journalist.  Northeast Ohio is a challenging part of the state to forecast for with everything from lake-effect snow to severe weather.  First experience ever on-air was doing weather for our nightly newscast on the PBS-affiliate WOUB at Ohio University.  

What do you like about your job? 
I am never bored.  Each day brings a unique challenge to the forecast and that’s exciting to me.  

What don’t you like about your job?
You don’t always get to sleep as much as you’d like, especially during severe weather season, but the good out weighs the bad.  

If not working, what could someone find you doing on a weekend on your time off?
Trying to cook something or taking a walk.  I love being outside.  

What might people be surprised to know about you?
I went zip-lining and loved it!  

What would be a perfect day for you?
Taking a hike on a beautiful fall day then enjoying a new restaurant for dinner.  I’m not a picky eater at all so I love finding new places to try.  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a Meteorologist?
Make sure it is what you really want to do because weather becomes a huge part of your life.  If you’re passionate about what you’re doing long hours won’t matter.  


Favorites
Favorite book:  The Great Gatsby 
Favorite CBS show:  How I Met Your Mother
Favorite food:  Italian, especially pizza
Favorite hobby:  Cooking
Favorite movie:  She’s the Man 
Favorite music: Rock 
Favorite travel destination:  Chicago.  I go every year with my mom and it’s the highlight of my summer.  

 
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