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Best Weathercaster 

Kent Ehrhardt, KMOV (Channel 4)

We wake to weather, wade in its excesses, duck its surprises. We want it to be predictable so that we can organize our lives around it. We also want it to be unpredictable so that there's still something larger than we are, something majestic enough to overpower us, winds and rains torrential enough to blow away our petty plans. Kent Ehrhardt negotiates the internal contradictions brilliantly. He's clean-cut and looks predictable himself -- yet he has perspective and even wit. He'd have to; he moved from West Palm Beach to St. Louis. Ehrhardt approaches "weathermakers" with just enough drama, giving us a glimpse at the lightning locator, a few animated bar charts to satisfy our need for technology. Then he comes swiftly back to earth. He takes responsibility in a homey, avuncular way -- "I do think we'll see some scattered storms by bedtime" -- so we can rage when he's wrong without hating him. His secret? Underneath the competence, he seems humble, and the trait meshes perfectly with our dark and stormy subconscious secret: We still want our weather to humble us.

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