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Best Weathercaster 

Ben Abel

Weathercasting in St. Louis is a crapshoot. Any meteorologist worth his Doppler will admit it, but they still go through the motions. Why? Because all things considered, anyone (us, you, the neighbor's kid with the lazy eye) can half-ass predict tomorrow's weather. It'll rain or it won't. It'll be hot or it won't. As long as you mention "high humidity" you're halfway to success, and in St. Louis, if you can bat .500 on anything, you'll go far. But among these charlatans and hucksters, there exists a man who does more than predict the weather. KWMU (90.7 FM)'s Ben Abel doesn't just read a vague forecast and then head for his TV weatherman gig. No, Mr. Abel reads a vague forecast and then attempts to sign off with his name, but right between the "I'm" and the "Ben Abel" he pauses with the felicitous grace of a mountaintop guru. In that tremulous pause, Mr. Abel could be receiving new information from a top-secret weather satellite, or rethinking his forecast, or watching the skies outside the window of his secret Parks College lair open forth to reveal the pulsing red orb of Cosmic Devastation. That long moment of silence implies a nebulous doubt, giving Mr. Abel's forecasts a sense of the very uncertainty that defines St. Louis weather. Ben Abel transcends the idea of weathercaster: He is a diviner of horizons not yet dawned, of infant storms not yet spawned, of weather not yet wrought.

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