WDIV’s Paul Gross retires after 40 years forecasting Detroit weather

The veteran meteorologist has seen all kinds of weather since joining Channel 4 in 1983. He talks about his work and how forecasting has changed in four decades.

white man with a purple shirt and tie smiles in front of a weather map

Paul Gross wraps up 40 years forecasting Detroit weather on Ch. 4.

Paul Gross has covered a lot of weather in four decades, including tornadoes, blizzards, heat waves and floods. The affable WDIV meteorologist, who joined the station in 1983, is retiring in 2023. His last day on the air is January 31.

“There is no greater feedback than when a person says, ‘you saved my life.’” — Meteorologist Paul Gross on feedback he once got from a viewer

Gross has seen some of southeast Michigan’s worst weather during his career, including the tornado that hit Dexter, Michigan in 2012 and historic flooding in 2014.

“We have had a number of highly destructive, significant weather events during my career in all four seasons, and I’ve had a bird’s eye view on all of them.”

He’s also witnessed major technological advances in weather forecasting.

“The development of Doppler radar was very important,” Gross says. So was the emergence of computer models.

“We still have to determine which model or models are the ones that are correct,” he says. “You still have to have the meteorologist. But we have more tools at our disposal to actually do a better job of forecasting the weather.”

Weather turned the tide of WWII

Gross has also studied the history of weather and how it affects events that shape the world. He spent 3 1/2 years researching the role weather played in the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II. He wrote and produced a documentary that aired on June 6, 1994, the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

“Nobody had ever really told the story of the intricacies of the weather that day,” Gross says.

His research took him across the country.

“My wife and I had a wedding in Hartford, Connecticut, and I found out that one of the British D-Day meteorologists lived in Hartford,” he recalls. “So I dropped her off at the hotel, took the car, went to our sister station out there, borrowed a camera crew, went out and interviewed the guy.”

The 1994 documentary, hosted by Gross’ colleague Chuck Gaidica, is now part of the official D-Day archives at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Read more: How to become a weather spotter

Gross says the most important part of his job has been giving viewers information that could save their lives.

About 30 years ago, a viewer emailed me and said that information that I’ve reported and provided in our morning newscast directly saved her life,” he recalls. “There is no greater feedback than when a person says, ‘you saved my life.’”

Gross says he’ll continue to consult and provide expert testimony in court cases where weather-related evidence could affect the outcome.

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  • Pat Batcheller
    Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.