Two truisms of television — never work with animals and you never know what to expect on live TV — combined to send a Pennsylvania weatherman fleeing for his safety as thousands of viewers watched.
Kurt Aaron, meteorologist for ABC affiliate WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pa., was seconds from delivering the weather forecast on Monday from the station’s outdoor studio when a mama bear and her three cubs wandered on set.
Viewers who tuned into the 11 p.m. broadcast expecting to find out whether to prepare for rain or sun, instead saw Aaron running inside for cover.
Aaron was forced to report a shortened weather forecast from inside the station’s control room while he and the newscast’s anchors watched and narrated for viewers the wildlife right outside their window.
“I walked out there, and I turn around and I hear the sound — and the bear’s literally 10 feet from me,” Aaron explained, once he was safely back inside the studio. ”And I ran like I stole something.”
The crew left the bears alone as they explored the set through the rest of the evening’s newscast. Even a high-pitched alarm, also heard on-air, did not immediately chase them from the area.
“We are located at the base of a mountain and we’ve had raccoons, skunks and all sorts of critters and creatures come through our backyard,” Carl Abraham, news director for WNEP, told ABCNews.com today. “But I don’t recall us ever having a mother and three cubs roll on through.”
“Nobody was hurt,” Abraham said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s just Mother Nature, so there’s not much you can do sometimes. We don’t have any plans to change. We’ll always do it outside.”
Abraham says WNEP in the 1970s became one of the first stations to report the weather from an outside set. Rapid development in the area, he believes, is likely what sent the bears out of their natural habitat and to the news station.
“This was one of the rare times that we were forced, besides severe weather, to do the forecast from the inside of the building,” he said.