TV

Longtime Columbia meteorologist Jim Gandy announces his retirement

Longtime Columbia meteorologist Jim Gandy announced his retirement.
Longtime Columbia meteorologist Jim Gandy announced his retirement.

Jim Gandy has been a TV staple in Columbia for decades with his weather forecasts.

On Wednesday’s 6 p.m. news broadcast, the longtime WLTX meteorologist made a different announcement, telling viewers he is retiring.

“I never thought I’d get to this point. When you start your career you never know exactly how it’s going to go. I am going to be retiring,” video shows Gandy saying. “My last day here will be Friday May 31.”

Gandy was introduced by WLTX anchorman J.R. Berry, who opened the segment by saying there was a “major announcement,” before letting Gandy tell viewers about his plans.

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(Eric Seals/The State) WIS weatherman, Jim Gandy will leaving the station in early December. Gandy who has been doing the weather for 23 years is looking for a new challenge. He will work for Gannett television in the corporate division doing consulting and training. (Eric Seals/The State) ERIC SEALS online@thestate.com

“It’s been a remarkable career, almost 44 years as a broadcaster, 45 years as a meteorologist,” Gandy said during the broadcast.

Gandy’s retirement was previously leaked by a Columbia group holding a fundraiser, which was auctioning off an evening with Gandy while he works on his TV broadcast.

“Though he’ll always be South Carolina’s favorite weather man, in May of 2019, Jim Gandy will retire from television,” read the description on bidr.co, for the event held March 21.

Gandy has spent the past 20 years delivering his weather predictions for WLTX, according to his biography on the TV station’s website. From 1984 to 1999, Gandy worked in Columbia at WIS, according to the bio that said Gandy is “known as South Carolina’s Weatherman.”

In Wednesday’s broadcast, Gandy said he’ll spend his remaining time on air reflecting on his career, in addition to delivering weather forecasts.

“Between now and May 31 I’m going to be sharing some of my experiences from that career,” video shows Gandy saying.

In a 2016 WLTX story reflecting on his career, it said Gandy was “most known for his prediction of Hurricane Hugo,” in 1989 when he was the only meteorologist to forecast that the devastating hurricane would make landfall in Charleston. Gandy “is credited for saving lives,” according to the story.

In 2014, Gandy was invited to the White House to interview then-President Barack Obama and discuss climate change, The New York Times reported.

After being named Columbia’s Best Weatherperson by the Free Times, the article said Gandy “explains the weather — and the science behind climate and climate change — in an accessible way, and that makes him the best.”

Gandy has a postgraduate degree in atmospheric science from the University of South Carolina and did his undergraduate studies at Florida State, according to his Linked In account.

He told The State that when he was studying meteorology in 1973, Gandy and a friend followed a storm from Tallahassee, Florida, to Tifton, Georgia, in a Volkswagen Beetle.

It was the first storm I ever chased,” he said, according to the newspaper.

After graduating, Gandy worked at the Center for Storm Research in Houston before moving on to TV jobs in Memphis, Oklahoma City and Wichita before coming to Columbia, it says on his WLTX bio.

People reacting to the announcement on Twitter were reverential of Gandy, calling the meteorologist a “legend,” the “best,” and viewer’s “favorite.”

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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