“I actually started out afraid of the weather,” said New York’s latest meteorologist Brittany Bell. “And me being afraid as a child, I would just watch The Weather Channel obsessively. And just I guess, watching it every single day, I kind of learned more about the weather. So that fear eventually turned to a passion. And I knew that it involved science. I was very interested in science and math. And I liked that science was something that was just hands-on and something that you could see, like right in front of your face because I’m a very hands-on type of person. So, it really started out as a fear but, through learning more about it, that fear turned into a passion,” said Bell.
Bell was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and lived there for 10 years until relocating to Southern California until her freshman year, after which she returned to Tennessee. She was a huge sports fan when she was younger. Bell was a basketball player who also ran track. Track was a huge part of her life.
She told the Amsterdam News, “I felt like, even though I wasn’t like the best athlete, as I learned so many lessons being a part [of it]. You learn how to lose, you’ve learned how to be accountable for your mistakes, you learn to be a team player, that was really a big thing for me.”
She was a part of the Gate Program in elementary school, which specialized in gifted-and-talented students like herself and provided her with extra exposure to computers and other things that helped her feel more confident in herself academically. Bell, who was a shy kid when she was younger, understood she needed to come out of her shell, especially if she wanted to be a TV meteorologist. She expressed that the primary problem is still being an introvert, but as a kid, it’s more about growing confidence and talking to other people and simply being in front of crowds.
As a child, Brittany used to watch The Weather Channel all the time when she was younger, and Vivian Brown, an American television meteorologist, became one of her biggest influences.
“Just seeing someone that looks like me, that really motivated me and just kind of gave me the motivation that I could do this because that is seeing a lot of people that look like me in this career. Or even now, it’s, you know, there’s still a lot of minorities that are underrepresented, but it’s much better than it used to be. So, watching people like Vivian Brown was definitely a big motivation for me,” said Bell.
Bell attended Mississippi State after graduating from Ridgeway High School in Memphis, Tennessee, but she had originally planned to attend Penn State when applying to colleges. While attending Mississippi State she was a part of the meteorology program that also prepared for her broadcasting.
Her first job was on air in Northwest, Arkansas. She was taken aback by the transition from school to her first job. Brittany expressed that during her time working in Arkansas people didn’t care about the intricacies of meteorology; they just wanted to know if it was going to rain that weekend. That was a major transition from learning in school, where she was learning all the difficult concepts in math, to conveying the forecast. In some way she felt that it was an extension of college because there were so many people her age when she first started working.
Bell expressed, “It is fulfilling because when it comes to this, I feel like even though it’s TV, if you’re in this for notoriety, it’s like people can tell and it’s really not going to get you far. For me it’s more so about serving the public and getting to know the people that watch, especially when it comes to severe weather when I get people that you know, say hey, you know thank you for covering the doors. You know, we’re scared you have got us through that. That to me just reminds me of why I’m doing exactly what I’m doing. Whether it’s preparing people for severe weather or preparing people for rain, helping them plan their day is, to me, the most appealing part of the job.”
Bell now works as a full-time meteorologist for ABC7New York. She had relocated to New York from North Carolina, where she had worked for ABC 11 Eyewitness News. She discussed her transition from living in a house with a yard in North Carolina, to now living in an apartment, as well as her dog walks. Living in New York has been motivating for her, and Bell said, she is excited to go on her new adventure.