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Ben Abell
Born (1932-03-01)March 1, 1932
Died February 11, 2019(2019-02-11) (aged 86)
Education Saint Louis University Bachelor of Science (1960)
Master of Science (1965)
   (Meteorology and Statistics)
Occupation Professor
Meteorologist
Years active 1962–2011
1972–2007
Employer Saint Louis University (SLU)
Organization KWMU-FM
Known for Volunteer forecasting
Title Professor of Meteorology[1]
Awards St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame[2]
Best Meteorologist (in St Louis)[3]

Benjamin F. Abell (March 1, 1932 – February 11, 2019)[4] was a professor of meteorology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Saint Louis University (SLU), where he was a member of the faculty from 1962-2011.[1] He also volunteered as the sole meteorologist for St. Louis, Missouri public radio station KWMU-FM since the station began broadcasting in 1972[5] through early 2007. To recognize and preserve his contributions as an outstanding member of the St. Louis radio community,[6] Abell was a 2005–2006 inductee to the St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame.[7]

Early and personal lifeEdit

Born March 1, 1932,[8] Ben Abell grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, and as a child his fascination with weather began when that area suffered severe flooding. He also gained firsthand experience of the consequences of weather working on his uncle's tobacco farm in the summers.[9] Abell has four children, Olga, Kathleen, Ben, and Brian.[8] Olga also studied meteorology at SLU.[4]

Abell was an Army intelligence officer in the Korean War.[4]

Professional workEdit

Abell received his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Saint Louis University in 1960, continuing with his master of science (M.S.) degree in meteorology and statistics in 1965.[6] Originally intending to work for the National Weather Service (NWS), then the Weather Bureau, after graduation,[10] Abell accepted an offer for a position on staff at (then) Parks College in 1962. He transferred to Saint Louis University upon the merger of Parks College therein, where he remained until his retirement in 2011.[4] His primary research areas were severe local storms, climate change, tropical cyclones, and weather forecasting, while his primary teaching areas were climate and humankind in history, and mesoscale analysis and severe storms.[1] As the undergraduate meteorology program director, he taught some introductory courses in the department as well as serving as the primary contact for prospective and new meteorology students.[11] He was also a forensic meteorologist.[12]

Volunteer forecastingEdit

Abell began his stint as volunteer meteorologist for KWMU when the station began airing in 1972.[5] Before accepting the position at KWMU, students from SLU were making the forecasts and broadcasts for the station, but would make the morning's forecasts the night before to avoid any early-morning engagements. After repeated requests from the fledgling broadcaster, and to better ensure correct and appropriate morning forecasts, Abell acquiesced and accepted the unpaid position as the station's meteorologist.[13]

Professor Abell was warmly received for his "pragmatic" stance on his forecasting, evidenced by his signature phrase: "I can't rule it out";[9][13] forthright with his listeners, Abell lays out the evidences he has for his forecast and the rationales for his conclusions.[14] In addition to computer-generated weather models, Abell draws upon "years and years and years of experience",[9] and is more inclined to rely on his instinct as opposed to the computer when the two forecasts diverge.[14] The alternative weekly the Riverfront Times (RFT) in 2000 awarded Abell as "Best Meteorologist".[3] St. Louis city Mayor Clarence Harmon proclaimed February 2, 2000 as Ben Abell Day.[8]

Upon retiring from his 35-year volunteer position on April 27, 2007, Abell had provided the St. Louis area with more than 120,000 forecasts.[15] His weather reports were also heard on KFUO-FM, KMOX, KHTR, and KCFM.[12]

DeathEdit

Abell died February 11, 2019 in a nursing home, aged 86, afflicted with a number of ailments. As a veteran, he was buried at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.[4][16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "Faculty at the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences". St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Saint Louis University. Archived from the original on 2010-11-19. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMXrtymV?url=http://www.eas.slu.edu/People/faculty.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  2. Weber, Tom (2006). "KWMU's Ben Abell named to STL Radio Hall of Fame". http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/kwmus-ben-abell-named-stl-radio-hall-fame#stream/0. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Silva, Eddie (2000). "Best of St. Louis, 2000: Best eteorologist: Ben Abell". https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/best-meteorologist/BestOf?oid=2473666. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Holleman, Joe (February 20, 2019). "Meteorologist Ben Abell, known for STL radio forecasts, dead at 86". https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/joe-holleman/meteorologist-ben-abell-known-for-radio-forecasts-dead-at/article_c40fbed1-9547-59cb-b3aa-a8826f7016b7.html. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Weber, Tom (2007-03-09). "KWMU meteorologist Ben Abell to retire". St. Louis, Missouri, USA: KWMU-FM. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. https://web.archive.org/web/20110612213313/http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kwmu/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1051296. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Berry, Clayton (2006-01-04). "SLU Professor Ben Abell Named to St. Louis Radio Hall of Fame". St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Saint Louis University. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMuT596w?url=http://www.slu.edu/readstory/more/6392. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  7. "::St. Louis Radio - Broadcasting History, Articles about Broadcasting and Local Personalities". St. Louis, Missouri, USA: STL Radio Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMugrk6w?url=http://www.stlradio.com/hof-05-06.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Weber, Tom. "Last Call for Ben Abell". St. Louis Public Radio. http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/last-call-ben-abell. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Block, Melissa (2007-04-27). "Sun Sets on St. Louis Weatherman's Long Career" (streaming audio). All Things Considered. United States: National Public Radio. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMv1WTaq?url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9884056. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  10. Roberts, Mike (2007-04-22). "Longtime Radio Meteorologist, SLU Professor Begins 'Phased Retirement'". St. Louis, Missouri, USA: KSDK. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMvHrGdf?url=http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=117488. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  11. Abell, Ben. "Undergraduate Meteorology Programs". Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Saint Louis University. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMvhBwim?url=http://www.eas.slu.edu/Programs/metug.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Ben Abell". St. Louis Media History Foundation. http://www.stlmediahistory.org/index.php/Radio/RadioHOFDetail/abell-ben. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Marsh, Don (2007-05-02). "Ben Abell Tribute" (MP3). St. Louis, Missouri, USA: KWMU-FM. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. https://web.archive.org/web/20070927204639/http://www.kwmu.org/Programs/Slota/archivedetail.php?showid=2598. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Murphy, Patrick (2007-11-05). "Ben Abell" (YouTube). Living St. Louis. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: KETC. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. https://www.webcitation.org/5uMworVPq?url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV6ozVWXe_g. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  15. Peterson, Deb (2007-04-13). "Breaking schmooze: Local ice cream man will be in national spotlight". St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Kevin Mowbray. 
  16. Abell, Benjamin F. "The Chief" - Kutis Funeral Home

External linksEdit

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