News 12 Meteorologist Joe Rao’s Favorite Westchester Things, From A To Z

The county’s own weatherman on astronomy, icy roads, and “foretelling the future.”

Astronomy, a lifetime passion along with weather. I’ve been an assiduous amateur astronomer for more than four decades.

Books. Give me a book with real pages and a cover. No iPad or Nook for me.  

Comet, my Yorkshire Terrier. My daughter named him, but I call him Woofie. 

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Dr. Frank Field, Alan Kasper, Bob Harris, and Gordon Barnes: TV weathercasters I tried to emulate as a kid growing up in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx.

Evening Team. All my teammates at News 12: the producers, directors, and my talented colleagues on the anchor desk.

Farmers’ Almanac. I’ve been supplying them with astronomical information such as the dates of eclipses and planet data since 1992.

Groundhog Day. To see or not to see, only the shadow knows. 

Hayden Planetarium. My affiliation with this institution dates back to 1986. I’ve taught courses in meteorology there and given countless star talks under the iconic domed Space Theater. 

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Icy roads: the Taconic, the Saw Mill, the Hutch, and any number of other parkways in the Hudson Valley. Call it a slip cover or the crawl of the wild.


Joe’s son, Joseph, and daughter, Maria


Joseph, my son and a high school physics teacher. He can make the Schrödinger equation sound simple, which is why he’s so popular among his students.

King, as in Stephen. I’m addicted to all 849 pages of his novel 11/22/63.

Lisa, my sister. I got her hooked on the Mets when we were kids and now she’s one of their most rabid fans.

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Maria, my daughter. When she was in the Cortlandt American Little League, she was known as “that lights-out girl pitcher.” Now she’s a part-time director at News 12.

News 12 Westchester: “As Local as Local News Gets.” Next October 16 I will complete my 20th year working there.

Oops! What I say when one of my forecasts goes awry, which thankfully isn’t very often. 

Peace, which goes with quiet.

Quiet, which goes with peace.

Renate, my BFFL and soul mate for more than 30 years. Without her, I’d be like a boat without a rudder. 

Snowstorms. Loved them as a kid, abhor them as an adult. If you had a driveway measuring more than 200 feet long, wouldn’t you?

Tina, my mom. My first cheerleader who is still proud of every little thing I do.

Umbrella. A device that is always used up. There’s no question about it: In a heavy rain, a smile makes a lousy umbrella.

Vaticinate, which means, “foretell the future.” During a newscast, the only person who will always vaticinate is the weatherperson.

WVOX 1460 AM. I delivered my very first weather forecast for this New Rochelle-based community station on June 22, 1978. 

Xenodochial, a word that means “friendly to strangers.” When you’re on TV you meet people who come up and say, “I watch you every night,” to which I reply, “Thanks. Keep watching…I need the work.”

Yonkers, the City of Hills where I head to work each day.  It is the fourth most populous city in the state and the most populous city in Westchester.

Zombie. How I feel after covering a powerful nor’easter or major winter storm. “Storm Watch Coverage” can sometimes run for several days, and I usually end up getting only a handful of hours of ZZZs.

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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