Somara Theodore doesn't think of weather forecasting in terms of simply predicting highs and lows. Rather, she's interested in it as an applied science.
And her interest in the weather actually dates back to her youth.
"I saw the movie Twister and said, 'Mom, I want to be inside the storm too," she says one morning from the Channel 5 WEWS studios on East 30th Street and Euclid. "That was it. That and watching thunderstorms. I was always fascinated with the weather."
But because primary and secondary schools don't offer much in the way of weather-related curriculum, she had to wait until college before getting a chance to get further education in her passion. Initially, Theodore, who attended Penn State University, struggled with the hard science she had to study.
"I didn't know how to add fractions well when I got to college," she says. "I was at a severe disadvantage. I also had to take calculus, level one. It's a math- and physics-based science."
While at Penn State, Somara conducted extensive fieldwork with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NASA project, dubbed Discovery AQ, involved testing ozone levels in Washington, D.C. During her time at Penn State, she also analyzed data related to lightning.
After graduating three years ago, she took a gig at the Fox affiliate in Savannah. It was a learning experience unlike anything she'd been through.
"It was scary because I had never taken a television course," she says of the experience. "So outside of appearing on the college TV station, I had never learned how to be on TV. They just threw me in there. People misconstrue this, but meteorology is applied physics in a way. It's an actual science, and the TV aspect is because a few of us have good personalities. I think TV fits my personality dynamic. I love the science and I still practice the science. I want to be the liaison between the science and the general public. I feel the difference I'm making every day."
On her personal website, SomaraTheodore.com, she provides a "Fashion Forecast," a "digital closet" that provides tips on what to wear based on the weather, and something a little more than you'll get by tuning into Good Morning Cleveland. She started the blog a few months ago.
"I like getting dressed and wearing clothes," she says. "I'm interested in different materials for the season. Fashion is a manifestation of personality."
Recently, Somara, a first-generation American, presented a TEDx Talk on her ethnic background.
"It was one of the defining moments of my life because it forced me to face a reality that was very prevalent but I never evaluated because it was just the norm," she says of her TEDx Talk. "Being a first-generation American can be interesting. We're riding this line between worlds. I can switch and talk in my native tongue. The words I choose, like 'bombastic,' are ones that my grandmother used to use. They're not just my native words either. It's also like a time capsule. The people there now have a new lingo. Her cultural gift was encapsulated in time. I'm the essential 1950s Trinidadian. I think that's pretty awesome. I think it's important to highlight that we are a country that's beautifully mixed and we have so much to learn from one another."