COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) - NBC4 meteorologist Ben Gelber is celebrating a major milestone this week: It has been 38 years since he joined Storm Team 4.
Gelber’s debut was on the second Saturday in July in 1980 during a thunderstorm. He said he was supposed to have a two-week training period, but the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning, forcing Gelber to go on air.
“I about had a panic attack,” Gelber said. “This was in the days of typewriters and carbon copies, and I was supposed to be handing the copies to the anchors, but they looked at me and said, ‘You’re doing weather now.’”
Since then, Gelber has anchored other major severe weather events, including the Blizzard of April 1987, the Columbus tornado of 2006, Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the Derecho of 2012.
Gelber is highly regarded in the newsroom, both for his meteorology expertise and as a coworker.
“The weekends that I work with Ben have been a highlight of my time here at NBC4. He is the ultimate example of dedication and hard work, while at the same time being one of the most pleasant and kind people I’ve had the honor of working with,” said Hattie Hawks, who co-anchors NBC4 Today on weekend mornings with Gelber. ““When severe weather hits, Ben is at the station within minutes and doesn’t leave until the coast is clear — sometimes he doesn’t leave at all. I feel lucky to have him as a coworker and more importantly, as a friend.”
The behind-the-scenes staff also loves working with Gelber, who they have nicknamed The Mighty Ben Gelber.
“Ben is one of the most caring people I’ve ever met,” said producer Ariel Wiley. “He always makes time for others and is such a hard worker. I’m glad to have had the pleasure to work with him these past couple of years and to have him as a friend.”
Gelber’s career at NBC4 makes him one of the longest-tenured meteorologists in the state, with nearly four decades of experience.
“His legacy here in central Ohio is incomparable,” said weekend morning producer Mekenna Brown. “I grew up here in Columbus and of course I watched Channel 4. I never would’ve thought I would be working alongside The Mighty. It’s an honor and privilege.”
Despite his long career, Gelber says he still gets nervous from time to time, but he said it’s something that comes with the job.
Happy 38th anniversary, Ben! Here’s a look back at the 1995 debut of “Here Comes the Ben Gelber.”