Meteorologist Nash C. Roberts Jr., hailed during a 50-year broadcast career for his accuracy in predicting the tracks of Gulf Coast hurricanes, has died at age 92.
WWL-TV interim News Director Mike Hoss said Roberts died Sunday. Details were not released and funeral arrangements were pending Monday.
Roberts had been a meteorologist in the Navy during World War II and opened a consulting firm in 1946, according to WWL. He signed on to do weather broadcasts with WDSU television in 1951.
His on-the-mark landfall forecasts for hurricanes Audrey in 1956, Betsy in 1965 and Camille in 1969 cemented his reputation during a career that took him to WVUE television and then to WWL. He retired from nightly broadcast work in 1984. However, any time a serious hurricane threatened, he was back on WWL, looking like a throwback to another era as he marked forecast tracks and data on a dry-erase board with a squeaky felt-tip marker.
Roberts stepped down for good in 2001 to take care of his ailing wife, Lydia, who died in 2007.
Roberts was low-key and almost professorial on the air, but he could be controversial, making clear when his forecasts differed from those of the National Weather Service. When Hurricane Georges was in the Gulf in 1998, Roberts disputed on air that Georges would hit New Orleans - as forecasts from the National Hurricane Center indicated. He turned out to be correct.
Discussing the storm in 1999, Roberts said he had an obligation to his clients - including offshore oil rigs and barge lines as well as WWL - to report what he believed to be correct. And, he added, he probably saved lives in Biloxi, Miss., by getting residents prepared.
"I don't set out to be different. Nine times out of 10, I will be in the crowd, but if I think they are making a mistake I'm going to say it," Roberts said. "I don't see any reason why everybody has to say the same thing."
Survivors include two sons, Kenneth and Nash Roberts III; three brothers; and four grandchildren.