Weather Authority Meteorologist Riley Blackwell joined Alabama News Network in June of 2021, after graduating from Mississippi State University with a degree in Meteorology and an emphasis on broadcasting.
Riley is no stranger to weather in Alabama, growing up in the small town of Sylvan Springs, west of Birmingham in Jefferson County.
Riley grew up hearing stories about family members being impacted by severe weather, such as his aunt just managing to avoid the April 8, 1998, F-5 tornado that destroyed Oak Grove High School in Jefferson County.
Riley says the defining moment for him to pursue a career in weather happened in April 2011, when an EF-4 tornado passed only about two miles south of his home and destroyed two cities where he had played sports and spent time.
Riley says it seems he has always been the one his friends came to when severe weather was impending, even before his professional training. He has always found joy in explaining the situation to friends and family, and giving them ample time to prepare if a severe situation were to arise.
While at Mississippi State, he and his friends would often storm chase on days that chases were ideal, even being nearly swept up by a tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi, after he and his friends drove a little too close to the action.
Riley was also a part of the 2017-2018 National Championship Disc Golf team at Mississippi State.
When Riley is not monitoring the weather, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, playing video games, following his beloved Boston Red Sox, and hunting and fishing. Riley accredits his love of outdoors to his love of weather, as the two go hand in hand. He says spending time hunting or fishing or just being in nature, observing Mother Nature in action, brings him a sense of peace. He also enjoys older country music, and has also been Type 1 Diabetic since December of 2011.
You can watch Riley weekends on Alabama News Network and see him reporting live from Thunder Truck during severe weather.
Follow his weather page on Twitter! @RBlackwellWx