“Weather Things in Photos” with Meteorologist Alan Sealls

By: Andrew Bryant | Contributing Writer and Photographer | 

Meteorologist Alan Sealls is what some would call a local legend. He first came to Mobile in 1999 as a meteorologist and professional weather photographer and worked for WKRG-TV as the chief meteorologist for over two decades. For his astounding work, he’s won numerous Regional Emmy Awards, two Best Weathercaster honors in Alabama, and the American Meteorological Society Award for Excellence in Science. He is currently showcasing his photography collection, “Weather Things in Photos: The Art and Science of the Atmosphere.”

Sealls began taking pictures around the fourth grade, following the lead of his father who was also a photographer. He continued photography into high school and later veered into meteorology in college. In the years following his college graduation, he moved around to different states, got married, and eventually settled down in Mobile. For over 20 years, he’s been the weatherman that Mobilians have turned their televisions to early in the morning before school and work and late at night before bed. 

As an adjunct professor, Sealls teaches two meteorology classes per week here at South and has coincidentally met some of his previous students in their shared work field years later. 

From his photography, one could assume that Sealls’ muse of meteorology has been his bread and butter. He proudly showed numerous beautiful pictures that he’s taken all over the U.S. of different types of clouds and passionately explained to the audience how they formed. After the presentation of his photography, Sealls answered multiple questions from the audience, like what to do if you are in the woods during a thunderstorm (crouch low to the ground on the balls of your feet and avoid trees that stick out higher than the others since they are more likely to attract lightning). 

Along with his advice for surviving dangerous natural weather phenomena, he dropped some truth bombs and rejected commonly believed myths that left the audience shocked, like the fact that metal doesn’t attract lighting at all; it only conducts it. The height of an object is what attracts lighting. Also, the amount of energy in a thunderstorm is equal to that of a nuclear bomb. The difference is a thunderstorm is more likely to last 30 minutes, whereas a nuclear bomb’s detonation is instantaneous. 

He left the audience with a quote, a joke that left his wife rolling her eyes: “Forecasting rain is like forecasting sex; you don’t know how long it’s going to last or how much you’re going to get.”