DENVER — Denver7 Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson, a forecasting pioneer in Denver, has announced his plans to retire after an illustrious 40-year broadcasting career that included 20 years at Denver7.
Nelson is one of just 25 weathercasters nationwide – and the only one in Colorado – to be named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Association for outstanding contributions to weather science over an extended time period.
He’s also a 20-time Emmy winner for his weather coverage and in 2016 was inducted into the Emmys Silver Circle for 25 years of service in the TV industry.
He’ll deliver his final weathercast for Denver7 on Dec. 12.
“In addition to being a beloved on-air personality, Mike Nelson is a true expert in the science of Meteorology,” said Denver7 Vice President and General Manager Brian Joyce. “Mike has been the steady hand guiding our viewers through countless storms and weather events, keeping them prepared and safe. His long tenure is evidence of his dedication and commitment to our community.”
Nelson, originally from Madison, Wisconsin, began his career in 1976 with the Wisconsin-based weather consulting firm Weather Central, where he developed a transformative weather graphics system built for television. In the following years, he installed weather computers at over 50 TV stations nationwide.
One of his trainees was none other than Al Roker, the longtime network meteorologist. Then, Nelson brought the first ever weather computer to Denver, where he trained longtime Colorado forecaster Stormy Rottman.
Denver7 | Weather
How Denver7's Mike Nelson helped transform weather forecasting in Colorado
The Weather Central system is still the most widely used system in the U.S. and beyond to this day.
Nelson left Weather Central to become the chief meteorologist at KMOV-TV in St. Louis in 1985. He moved to Denver in 1991 and served as Chief Meteorologist at KUSA before moving across Speer Boulevard to Denver7 in 2004.
In addition to his many awards and accolades for his on-air work, Nelson was also named the Colorado Broadcasters Association Citizen of the Year in 2001 for his volunteer work teaching weather and climate to the public.
"His commitment to educating the public about climate change is unmatched in our market and beyond,” Denver7 Senior News Director Megan Jurgemeyer said.
Nelson estimates he’s spoken to as many as one million school children during his career – including Denver7 morning meteorologist Lisa Hidalgo, who was in the crowd as a fifth-grader for one of Nelson’s school visits.
She recalled the visit for a recent Denver7 story as part of the station’s celebration of its 70th anniversary on the air.
“I remember thinking when I came to the studio watching him do what he does, I thought, ‘How does that man walk and talk at the same time?’ And then here I am getting to work with him,” Hidalgo said.
Mike and his wife, Cindy, have two grown children, Christiana and Anders, and three grandchildren: Liam, Owen and Josephine.
They are also the “parents” to two very energetic dogs; Harper and Tahlula.
Want to learn more about Colorado weather? Check out the videos below for explainers done by Mike Nelson.