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WTSP, Channel 10 hires new chief meteorologist
TAMPA - Changes are under way at the WTSP, Channel 10, weather forecasting team where a new chief meteorologist joins 10 News in December and more new hires are expected soon. Jim Van Fleet, who has worked at WOFL-TV in Orlando for a decade, will be the 10 News chief meteorologist. He replaces Tammie Souza, who left WTSP in January. Van Fleet also is well-known in the Orlando area as a country music performer who has opened for major acts. He has his own band, "Jim Van Fleet & The Reign." WTSP News Director Peter Roghaar says he thinks viewers will like Van Fleet "not only because he is a seasoned pro weather but he's got a good personality,"He's been through hurricanes so he knows Florida weather, Roghaar adds. Van Fleet is the first of some new hires for the station to be announced soon, possibly later this week, says Roghaar. Two current 10 News forecasters are leaving. Chris Suchan is scheduled to depart by Sept. 15 for a possible chief meteorologist job elsewhere. And Sherry Ray Hughes is leaving and the end of September to join her husband who has taken a job In Cincinnati. Van Fleet earned the National Weather Association's "Television Seal of Approval" in March of 1998 and is a member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. He studied meteorology and climatology at Baylor University and Tulsa Junior College. In a statement released to the Orlando Sentential, Van Fleet said that "after a roller coaster ride over the last 10 years at Fox 35, I feel like WOFL has become my home and the staff have become my family, so clearly this has been a very difficult decision for me." He added that Fox 35 made a generous offer for him to stay "the opportunity with WTSP is something meteorologists spend their entire lives working towards, and to have this door open for me right now is a dream come true and one I would be foolish to pass up." He grew up in Oklahoma where he became fascinated with tornadoes.