Even though it's super corny to compare a meteorologist to a weather condition, I'm gonna do just that. Mark Baden is a gol-damn ray of sunshine. Seriously, stale beer could be downpouring from the sky and Baden would still come off as friendly, knowledgeable and non-alarmist with a light sprinkle of humor.
Part of Baden's appeal is that he looks and acts like the perfect, Mr. Rogers-worthy neighbor, and yet he doesn't seem fake. He shares his love for the weather that's rooted in research, passion and, my favorite part, science. There's just something real as rain about that guy. (I've also been a regular contributor on WISN news for two years and have seen him behind the scenes plenty of times, too.)
But all fangirling aside, I think Milwaukee is fortunate AF to have a TV weather OG like Baden and so, because I'm a nosy journalist, I asked him 10 questions to find out more about his ways.
OnMilwaukee: What is “perfect weather” in your opinion?
Mark Baden: This is a tough one for me. I like too many types of weather. But I guess “perfect” would be 75 degrees, mostly sunny, low humidity and a slight breeze.
I was kind of hoping for something more dramatic, like a rainbow in a wind tunnel, but that does sound lovely. So if you could be anything other than a meteorologist, what would it be?
If I was not a meteorologist, I would be a teacher.
Aw, I can see that. I think you'd be a good teacher for literally students of any age. Lemme ask you this: When you are wrong about the weather, does it temporarily bruise your ego?
I definitely get upset when I miss a forecast. I take great pride in being right. However, that does not always work out. I have pretty thick skin and can quickly move on to the next forecast and try to learn from any mistakes.
How far in advance can a meteorologist truly predict the weather? Someone once told me – and I know this could be garbage information – that it's only truly predictable a few hours before the weather event.
Meteorologists can usually forecast with good accuracy 2-3 days in advance. As technology improves, we are becoming more accurate even to seven days out.
What is the future of weather prediction? Like will technology continue to improve to the point weather will be predicted weeks out?
I don’t think we will ever get to weeks out. If we do, I guess I will become obsolete. There still is human skill needed in forecasting. That’s why I tell people not to trust their weather apps.
You are very engaged on social media. And you're good at it. Once a woman got snippy with you on Facebook for predicting rain and so she didn't water her garden and then it only sprinkled. You handled that well: lightly yet sincerely. So what are your general thoughts on social media?
Social media can be a blessing and a curse. I like to be able to engage with others and social media is an awesome tool for that. But it also is a place where civility sometimes does not exist.
Did you ever think the weather would become so political?
It saddens me that politics gets in the way of science. Science will always win in the end.
You describe yourself as a weather nerd sometimes. What does that mean to you?
I love weather. I love passing along that passion for weather. It’s fascinating. Every day is different. Our weather is rarely boring.
So what do you "nerd out" about besides weather?
I’m a golf nut. And I love to hike. I walk almost every day for at least 3-5 miles. It’s my chance to recharge. And my dog loves it too.
Everywhere you go, people recognize you. Does being a local celebrity ever get tiresome?
I don’t think of myself as a “local celebrity." I’m incredibly fortunate to have a job that I love. It just happens that job is on television. I am flattered when people say hi and ask me about the weather.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.