Andrew Kozak has had computers crash on him before in his nine-year career as a TV meteorologist, but never like this.
When Kozak, who has been the morning meteorologist for ABC affiliate KTUL in Tulsa, Okla., since June, sat down at 4 a.m. Monday to create the weather graphics for the start of the 4:30 a.m. newscast, he drew a blank, literally.
“I had done all my forecasts and sat down to make the graphics and nothing worked,” Kozak told ABCNews.com. “Every single graphic was blank.
“When I restarted the computer, nothing came back up,” he said. “Tulsa is a severe weather market and it was one of those things where I thought, ‘Well, we just can’t not do weather.’”
Kozak decided he had two options, to either stand in front of the green screen and talk through his forecast or to go back to what meteorologists did long before computers. He chose the latter.
“I just saw some pieces of paper and markers and thought well I might as well just draw the graphics,” he said. “I did it for about an hour-and-a-half, until about 6:15 a.m. when the computers came back.”
Kozak thought his plan B would get him in trouble with both viewers and his bosses. Instead, it turned him into a viral star.
Facebook comments from the tens of thousands of viewers who saw Kozak’s weather report live and the countless people around the world who saw it replayed online began rolling in.
“It just went viral,” Kozak said.
“If you had asked me what the ramifications would be, I would have told you a trip to my news director’s office,” he said. “But it ended up being kind of a cool thing. I’m still kind of floored, to be honest.”