Cloudy with a Chance of Spann

IMG_9368Photos and Timeline by Cameron Carnes

Intro by Lindsey Lowe Osborne

The suspenders.

The Twitter account.

The finger pointing at the camera.

When there’s anything of significance happening in the skies—and even when there’s not—meteorologist and beloved weatherman James Spann is the man we turn to. He’s the guy who can tell us if it’s safe to drive on the ice, the man who will tell us whether we should be worried, and the one who will look us in the eye and tell us to take cover. And I’d bet most of us can remember a day when that made a difference to us.

When we’re in any kind of weather doubt, our motto is—and should be!—“What would Spann say?” (Spann would say, “Respect the polygon.”) While steering Alabama through inclement weather is surely one of Spann’s most revered roles, he is still working hard when the skies are sunny. Photographer Cameron Carnes captured a whole day in Spann’s life—from speaking to kids at school about weather safety to updating the Alabama Weather Blog ( to weather forecasting for ABC 33/40, he’s a busy guy. In fact, Carnes started shooting at 7:45 in the morning, but Spann had begun his day nearly three hours earlier, at 5 a.m. “What was a very long shoot day for me was a normal, if not light, day for him, and over the course of the 15 hours we were together, I shot over 1,200 frames,” Carnes says. “I was constantly impressed by his work ethic and dedication. The passion he has for weather preparedness is incredible.”

Carnes says that Spann is always thinking about how to make it easier to get weather information. “He told me that he usually drives back roads when he’s traveling. This is how he knows all of those obscure landmarks,” Carnes says. “He explains that while ‘10 miles southeast of Tuscaloosa’ may not mean much to most people, ‘down the street from Big Jim’s Pit BBQ’ gives a location that people will know in case severe weather is imminent.” Even more than his dedication to his profession, Carnes was impressed by Spann’s character, his kindness and compassion. “After speaking at Paine Primary, he went to speak with the cafeteria staff. He tells me this is something he always does,” Carnes says. “When he was 7 years old, his father abandoned him and his mother. He says that lunch ladies were always nice to him and left a big impact on his childhood. He likes to remind them of the effect they can have on a child’s life.”

In the photos that follow, you’ll find a glimpse into a day in the life of James Spann. Spann, you are the man.

IMG_8527A Day in the Life of James Spann:

5:00 – 8:00

  • Record, edit, and upload radio forecasts for stations in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Prescott, (AZ) and McAllen (TX).
  • Write blog posts for the Alabama Weather Blog.

IMG_87378:00 – 9:00

  • Travel to Paine Primary School in Trussville.

9:00 – 10:00

  • Speak to kindergarteners at Paine Primary.
  • Pose for photos with students, faculty, and staff.
  • Visit lunchroom staff to talk to them about the impact they can have on children.

IMG_901710:00 – 11:00

  • Travel to Cullman.
  • Test new live streaming app for use in storm tracking and spotting.

11:00 – 13:30

  • Speech to Cullman Chamber of Commerce.
  • Spoke about loss of life in April 27th storms and how weather preparedness saved lives in Cullman.

IMG_909113:30 – 14:30

  • Travel back to Birmingham

14:30 – 16:00

  • Write afternoon blog post.
  • Record forecast videos for ABC 33/40 weather channel.
  • Get ready for 4 o’clock news.

IMG_931916:00 – 17:00

  • 4 o’clock news broadcast.

17:00 – 17:30

  • 5 o’clock news broadcast.

18:00 – 18:30

  • 6 o’clock news broadcast.

IMG_944318:30 – 21:00

  • Return home to visit with and eat dinner with family.

21:00 – 22:45

  • Prepare for 10 o’clock news.
  • 10 o’clock news broadcast
  • Leaves station at 22:45


Leave a Reply