Here are notable highlights from an interview this week with Nitz:
Meeting Burns in 2006: “Glenn was a little shy at first but over the years, we’ve gotten to know each other. We just have had a great time joking and laughing. We’ve spent more time any given day with each other than our wives. I’m going to miss him.”
Longevity matters: “The viewers have supported me and trusted me and Glenn together. I think that’s trust which is built over time. There’s no substitute for time in the market covering events. You can’t in any way manufacture that. I appreciate the trust viewers have put in me. In this new role, I’m going to earn that trust every day.”
His weather philosophy: “We take deep dives into radar data and geek out with the tools and equipment. But I always keep at the front of my mind that this isn’t just data on a computer screen. It’s somebody’s home. It’s somebody’s neighborhood. I am always trying to help people through a storm and understand the threat. Even when it’s a lovely day, we want to get families prepared, say, on Halloween, so they know if it’s okay to trick or treat. Those are the kinds of things we do day in and day out.”
Surf’s up: Like Burns, Nitz grew up surfing and continues to do so when he has a chance. He grew up on the shores of Jacksonville, Florida, where tracking the weather as a teen was crucial when it came to knowing the best times to hit the waves. That translated into his love for meteorology. He received a meteorology degree at Florida State University and worked in multiple markets including Jacksonville before coming to Atlanta. Over the years, he has also gone on surf trips to Costa Rica and California.
Always there when the weather goes bad: “This is not a 9-to-5 job. It’s a passion. I couldn’t stand sitting on my couch if there were tornadoes coming. I’ve returned from vacations during severe weather. I’ve canceled and postponed trips. It’s part of the job.”
Handy man: During Nitz’s off time, he enjoys building furniture and fixing things around the house. “I’ve remodeled bathrooms and installed windows in my house. I’ve built an armoire, a TV cabinet, a desk, chairs, a coffee table and an end table. I’m rebuilding the shower now in the basement. I’ve always got a project going on. I started doing that with my dad early in life.”
Toughest weather events: In March 2008, he and Burns were on air seven-plus consecutive hours dealing with a rolling wave of tornado warnings without a break. During the 2014 ice storm that shut down the city, Nitz stayed at WSB-TV for five consecutive days. But he said it’s satisfying when viewers tell him that his tornado warning literally saved their lives.
Most fun story to cover: Nitz was on duty on Christmas Day in 2010 when snow actually stuck on the ground in Atlanta, a rare occurrence. “We had NBA games all day and I’d break in with updates. Nobody was going to work so families were just having a blast.”